I mentioned in the previous post that I was writing all the time and that's why I was falling behind in posting photos. The reason that I'm writing all the time, beyond simply being a writer, is that I have decided this year to take up the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo).
If you've been reading this site for a long time, (and why would you?) you might remember that we had a guy writing TV reviews here by the name of Sam Brady. While he doesn't do that here anymore, we've stayed in touch and thus I became aware of NaNoWriMo. Sam had done it at least the last two years and it always seemed like a fascinating idea. Simply put, contestants must crank out 50,000 words of a novel in a single month. Now, the idea is not to create a complete finished novel in that time. More specifically, the idea is to come up with a first draft. Even more specifically, the idea is to train writers that disciplined regular writing makes you a better writer.
I rarely have that level of discipline. To be fair, I spend a lot of time mentally working out what I'm writing, so that when I do sit down to type, it comes out in big bursts of productivity. But that's not disciplined enough. So I decided to give this a try.
The biggest problem for me is that I'm a screenwriter, not a novelist. I've never attempted anything like this before. In school I had a few short stories but nothing longer than a few pages. When the idea for my script She Hates the Idea came to me, I started writing rapidly with no script style or format, so that I could get the basics down on paper without needing to stop for formatting. That was probably the longest thing I've written in that format and it doesn't even vaguely approximate the size of a novel.
This is something very different. And the reason it took me a few years to decide to try it was the jump from screenwriting to novel writing was a daunting one. The format is completely different. Novels are very internal, allowing the reader to hear the thoughts of characters. Scripts are very external, depending on visuals to be added later in the film making process. Novels are much longer than scripts, allowing for a lot more of everything.
I spent years working on the craft of writing scripts. Switching gears to something so different was intimidating. But I want to get better, to stretch my wings. And so I took an idea that I had abandoned as a script because it wasn't working in that format and made it the basis for a novel.
After two days of writing, I'm at 4896 words, almost a tenth of the way. The first day was very slow and awkward as I tried to get the feel for this different style of writing. Attributions and viewpoint were the biggest stumbling blocks. Movies have a very specific viewpoint that is rarely, if ever, found in novels. So not writing that way was awkward. Attributions aren't that difficult but when you aren't used to using them, they slow things down. The first day I only managed about 1300 words. So things are looking up.
I'll try and post regularly on the progress of this project but don't expect them daily. I need my time for writing this book, remember?