The Writer's Process: Goals and Deadlines and Nano, Oh My!

No, I'm not doing Nano.
Not really.
Okay, well, maybe I sort of am.
But it's not like I'm going to hit 50k for the month. That hasn't happened in a long while.

I am, however, not at all above shamelessly using the deadline to churn out the second half of the WIP on my desk. It's still not hit 50k yet, hovering just below that point. I'm not entirely certain what the final wordcount on it will be. Not 100k ...I don't think. One way or another, though, my goal is to have a complete first draft to edit and polish in December.

For me, Nano stopped being about wordcounts a few years back. It evolved into a concept of setting a goal for myself for the month, and then reaching it. Regardless of what it is. November is probably the only month that I actually engage in this sort of structure. Mostly because attempting to force the structure of a solid story doesn't have a very nice outcome for me. I've been sitting on the same scene for a week now with the WIP because I couldn't come to terms with the direction I saw it going. My subconscious was whispering one thing, and my conscious was thoroughly at odds with subjecting the characters to that level of distress.

Which is funny to me, on a number of levels. My inner writer obviously knows what's best, and I struggle to listen. There are times when I swear I have more blocks than a toddler's toy box. I'm working on it. No matter how many I dissolve, there's an endless supply of more. I don't know if that's because I have an overactive imagination, or because the block that's churning out the smaller blocks (like a termite queen or something comparably horribly grotesque) is one I haven't found yet. See, even in my own mind, my psyche is a twisted labyrinth of a freak show. Wanna know what's even scarier? Labyrinths don't have walls. Don't have dead ends. They're just a maze of a white line that leads from the outside to the center. All you have to do is follow it.

Fang, Fire, and Tiger Iron

Art feeds art, and gives me strength and inspiration. In this case, my new shiny acquisition (thank you, f.Inguz) has helped me find the emotional strength to do the story justice. To follow the path that lets the characters take their natural paths of self discovery and growth.

In this and other ways, this story is serving as a therapeutic crutch and a learning tool. There's one I have in the wings waiting to be written. Recreated is probably a better term. A combination of two story ideas, blending into one. The resultant plot will involve the death of one of the main characters as the driving force of the POV character's destruction. Psychologically. The entire project is mostly sitting in the back of my head, slowly taking form. And as it does, it frightens me more and more. It's a story line and a character that will tap deep into the psyche of myself and the audience, if I do it right.

Reaching the point where I feel confident that I can execute it in the way it deserves, doing it justice, has been a long road of growth, both as an individual and as a writer. It has not been an easy one. It is a dark story, and when the character first came to me the level of psychological disturbance and dementia  displayed was enough for me to shove the whole project into a very dark corner and bury it deep.

No, no, no, I thought. This takes "anti-hero WTFery" to a whole new level. It is not a character that I can handle. It twists 'dark' into...a black hole. No hope of redemption, no light at the end of the tunnel.

That was years ago, though. And the character has bide its time patiently, lurking like a sociopath and waiting until the time is right to strike out and tell their story.

One story leads to the next, and the next. Even when they aren't interrelated. If I try to tackle them out of order, they don't go well. The problem is, I have no visibility to the proper order. I just grope around in the dark until something cooperates with me.


  1. My pleasure sis. I can't tell you how much I love hearing that the shinies help you with your writing. I'm just grinnin' like a loon over here.


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