MOPNoWriMo Day 22: Thistlefinger (20/2/2012)

Day twenty two: Target wordcount: 85000. Words written: 80100

Also, why does the auto-complete function on my word-processor want to complete this as thistlefinger? I don’t think I have EVER written the word thistlefinger. Is it even a real word? OpenOffice seems to think so, but WTF, word-processor? W.T.F? Although as a name, Thistlefinger has a certain something? Thistlefinger McDark.

(For posterity, it’s just possible I may be writing this somewhat under the influence).

Right. Anyway. Sort of back on track after acceptance of the futility of trying to write useful words while stuck in a small hotel room with two small children and Scooby Doo. The fact that half of today’s words were written on the tube on the way to a party (and this is written on the way back, which will doubtless explain many, many things when I come back and read it sober) is a pleasing re-assurance that the last few days were a glitch, an asking-too-much. Today’s words were much, much better than the weekend. Another chapter and a half done, the ending is clearly going to change and the square-jawed hero’s nerdy sidekick has effectively completed his take-over of the story. Fighting his battles with brains instead of brawn and winning quite a lot of them. I think maybe he’s not going to win this one though. Ah well. My antagonist is showing some decent tortured depth too, trapped between what he once was and what he’s now supposed to be. I’m looking forward to writing more tomorrow so I guess the muse is properly back.

Why am I doing this? (Why am I doing thistlefinger? Dear god how do I make it stop)? Several reasons. I almost have to get this drafted in a month to meet the schedule I’ve put on myself, but that’s a bit of a cheat. It wouldn’t be the end of the world for it to overrun by a couple of weeks or even a month, as long as I used the rest of the time on something else. But it does need to be done. So that’s reason the first. Second reason: I want to see if I can. I want to see how hard it is. I want to know what it’s like for everyone who sits down at the start of November for NaNoWriMo with a blank sheet of computer screen and tried to write a novel. Here I am, supposedly a seasoned professional full-time writer with 5-6 hours every weekday. Can I actually do it? I want to know. Reason the third is closely related: sometimes there are reasons why a novel has to be written and edited and printed in an unusually short space of time (i.e. 4-5 months instead of the more usual couple of years). Movie and video-game tie-in novels spring to mind. I’ve been close to doing a video-game tie-in project once, and the time scales for that would have been murderous. From memory, I was going to have two months to come up with a story, write it, rewrite it and submit it for editing. That project fell through, but I want to know if I can do that. If I can, I want my agent to know I can do that and I want my publisher to know it too.

That’s why I’m doing this, but not why I’m writing about it. In part I want to come back and look at these records a few months from now and see if I can learn anything useful to make my own writing better – perhaps not the final words, but the process of getting there. Most of all, though, I guess I’m hoping that these notes might be useful for anyone else who embarks one the same. Maybe some of the thoughts on planning. Maybe the fact that I’ve hit a few rocks on the way, and why. I hope so. Be about 10,000 words gone into these posts by the time I’m done. You can figure out how many days of work that is for yourselves.

Much fighting planned for tomorrow. Fight scenes are good. I get excited and type faster. Seriously, that is true.


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