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Welcome to Writing Wednesday, my new weekly feature where I discuss my works in progress, project ideas, editing struggles, or anything else related to the world of writing. Feel free to grab my button and post your own thoughts on writing! Leave a link to your post in the comments and I’ll stop by.
Okay, so I have a confession to make. Since completing NaNoWriMo in November, I haven’t touched my manuscript. I haven’t even had the heart to go back and read it. That big ugly beast is scaring me. I’m afraid that if I read it I will realize that I need to give up on my dreams and resign myself to life as a non-author.
Here’s the thing that’s brilliant about National Novel Writing Month: I wrote a whole novel in 30 days. That’s exciting. I realized that my brain is capable of putting words into sentences that eventually turn into a story that has a beginning, middle and end. I learned that the story may have all the requisite components, but that it may also be terrifically boring.
Here’s the sucky thing about NaNoWriMo: I wrote a whole novel in 30 days. By the end of the experiment, I had some cool characters and a setting that worked okay, but a story that is so awful I had a hard time explaining it to others. “Um, there’s a girl who has this magical pet cougar. Not like MILF cougar but like panther cougar. And her dad goes missing and he turns out to be part of this secret political club that the king wants to suppress and since the king can read minds he totally figures this stuff out, right? So it turns out that the king can control everyone’s mind except for the girl’s, so he wants to make her his wife so they can be this power couple and rule the world, but he’s all creepy and pervy and besides the girl is in love with her former mentor who along with her sister is kidnapped by the king too, and the king uses them to manipulate the girl into agreeing to the marriage but before he attacks her and tries to consummate the marriage the cougar saves the day and kills the king but she dies. Then the girl decides that since she went through with the marriage she’s the queen now and should probably do good stuff for her people.”
I may or may not have written a book along those lines.
Still, the point of NaNoWriMo is not to write a good book, it’s to write a book. Any book. It’s an exercise in getting over the fear of having to complete an entire novel. It forced me to write quickly and without thinking. I just typed, and if an idea came to me, I explored it. The genius part was that it worked.
I’m not really one for big plot ideas. I have lots of ideas about characters and settings, but when it comes to the action, I usually draw a blank. It’s a big reason why I hadn’t written a novel before November. Imagine my surprise when I find out that even with no forethought, I actually can fabricate a story from beginning to end. I can make the characters do stuff. It may not be very exciting or interesting stuff, but eventually they will have to do something.
What makes this particularly funny is that I despise books lacking in action. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never been a big fan of literary fiction – too much character study with little action. Zzzzzzzzzzz. What I love to read are stories with complications and trials and missteps and lots of forward motion. When I sit down to write, I get carried away in who and where my characters are instead of what they’re doing. Bad Logan.
I’ve been jotting down some notes for my next project, but so far no story is coming to me. Hopefully an idea will come before I have to write a whole new crappy book. Trust me, no one wants to see the sequel where the girl and her cougar start the riveting process of drafting legislation or opening a peanut factory.
Where do you find inspiration for your plot ideas? Do you find it easier to develop characters or the story?