NaNoing My Problem

When I finish revising a novel, I feel like the train from the climax of Back to the Future 3. Doc Brown threw in those special logs and now I'm going twice as fast as a normal train. Reall, that works for when I finish the novel the first time and when I revise it again after beta reading. Each version is relevant to the color in the movie: first draft = green, second draft = yellow, third draft = red. Then I travel through time or fall into a gorge.

And since traveling through time doesn't work as a metaphor, when it's all done, I fall into a gorge. I'm just going and going and going and I don't want to give up any momentum. I try to switch to a different novel, either something I was already working on or something new. The problem is, each novel has it's own voice. I can't maintain that momentum and switch between mss. I need to slow down. But I can't slow down. There's a chemically infused log that is sending me speeding down the track.

I never want to take off, but I always have to. With the completion of TSS's second draft, I had the good fortune of being sick. So even though I wanted to keep writing (and have 38k of JH to go to), I had to take a few days off. Only a few. Monday arrived and I trying to keep some of that momentum going for this wip. It did not go well. I had trouble capturing the voice and had reservations of the quality of the story over all. It feels a bit thin. There's no complexity or depth. It's just a "go here do this, go there do that" story. It reminds me a lot of THE BLACK COMPANY in that way.

So I pondered this on the way home Tuesday night after producing only a few hundred words. I fell into the gorge and didn't realize it. Now I need to climb back up so I can get back on the tracks. But do I stop and try to wash my pants, or do I just soldier on? Yesterday morning I decided to take the NaNoWriMo way out. I ignored any quality concerns I had for the chapter and just pushed through to the end. Sometimes you just have to say, "I'll have to fix this in revision." This risk is that the quality is so bad as to derail the proper direction of the story. You'll just have to come back later and redo it and then redo everything you wrote after. It's a gamble, and not one that always pays off.

Elizabeth Poole and I have differing opinions on NaNoWriMo. She enjoys it. I do not. I accet that she finds a fun community there, but I do not participate in the community and do not want to lend myself to the activity just to explore the community. I think writing without any concern for quality is bad writing. I think 50,000 words counts as a novel in one or two genres. I think not enough effort is made to explain to participants that what they produce during NaNo is not something that should be sent to agents without revision and review. But most of all, it's that first part. No, I do not go back and revise until the entire manuscript is complete, but I do make a concerted effort to write the best possible first draft. To write with complete abandon is to shit diarrhea on the page. It makes a mess, it stinks, and isn't good for anyone but the flies.

I'd rather see someone write 25,000 first-draft quality pages than 50,000 NaNoWriMo quality pages.

So chapter 15 of JH is shit. Hopefully it's not so runny that it was a waste of time. I'm on chapter 16 now, and that's what I needed.