NaNo doubts

Sorry if today’s post comes out reading and feeling a tad… lumpy. I’m currently super focused on my NaNo project, so any other writing is going to suffer.

This could have been my IWSG post, but since I have a bigger writerly concern as well, I figured I could write about this today.

You see… I have sort of started to doubt if I’ll be able to get as far with my NaNo project as I did last year. 2011 saw me writing 25k in about ten days before I froze up and shelved the WiP. But right up to 25k, it was frighteningly easy to write.

This year, though, my story took me by surprise. I thought it would be just a nice run-of-the-mill we-will-prevail sort of dystopian.

Should have known my muse wouldn’t be this easy on me. No. I somehow managed to stumble onto a psychological pea soup. Day one went well, but after that, it feels like I’m writing through wool.

It isn’t the same feeling as I get while blocking, though. I know what has to happen next and every successive scene comes to me easily. It’s just that when I start writing, things are hard.

I think it’s because my female main character has grown up in more shit than I originally thought and her mind’s workings keep making it hard for me to write her thoughts. Hard… It’s actually more like I’m bashing my head against a wall.

My male main character isn’t much better. He’s not quite the idealist I thought he was, so his approach to revolution is sort of… unnerving.

All this adds up to probably the most difficult book I’ve ever attempted. Including Doorways.

Not sure if I can do this, but I have to try.

Have you ever written a story that fought you all the way? Did you make it through to the end or did you give up?


44 thoughts on “NaNo doubts

  1. Yeah, I've had some books that have fought me. Most often (okay, I know this sounds weird, but…) it's when the characters know something that I don't. Something they don't want to tell me. The only thing that works for me is to keep pushing them. Eventually, they get angry enough and tell me what it is. Then, somehow that unstops the cork in the flow of the narrative.

    I'm rooting for you to get through this!! Keep us updated.

  2. The NaNo site currently tells me I'll reach the target on 27 December – so yes, I'm struggling too. My characters just don't want to do anything. They keep arguing, and having the same one minute silence over and over again (I won't even go into how I'm managing that!)

    At least your characters are giving you plenty of scope. Go with it, and see where it takes you!

  3. Mine fight me before I begin. I blame that on extensive outlining. Not sure I could ever write a character that was vastly different from myself in terms of beliefs. But maybe the stretch would be good.

  4. I've written two stories I fought all the way. One turned out really well (though that was more like struggling than fighting). The other will have to be rewritten.

  5. All of my novels fight me! Novels are a huge struggle for me because I can't just write them in one sitting like a short story, which usually pours out of me all at once. I have only finished two novel first drafts; all the others I have had to give up on. I am doing NaNoWriMo this year too, and I feel as though this novel could be The One, you know, the one I finish and edit and publish.

    Good luck with NaNo!

  6. Don't give up! The good thing about a story that fights you is that you know it's alive and thriving. Like when you hear a baby crying right after it's born. Sounds like you have some great fodder started in your WIP. Don't get discouraged just because it might be slower going than you are used to 😀

    Also, if it isn't too distracting from the NaNoWriMo deadline I tagged you in my last post 🙂

  7. I've had characters that insisted on being present when it turned out they were not needed. That was a fight, but I won out, so did the book since it was better for it.

    But you're at the beginning. There's more time to NaNo, more time to wrangle with these characters and perhaps let their flawed natures guide you to a novel that will creep you out with it's greatness. Yeah, I went there 🙂

  8. I've never had characters fight me, at least not in the books I've published or have ready to publish, but I do know that characters take on a life of their own and don't always turn out the way you planned them. Actually kinda spooky!

  9. Remember; NaNo is about getting the basic story down in 30 days. Let all those character issues go until editing. And sometimes, writing the bare bones helps work out some needed backstory or an incomplete scene, and next thing you know, more words are added to the story (and your NaNo word count).

    I'm not participating in NaNo, but my advice here is the same as everyday; write it and don't get hung up on writing in sequence. Leave yourself a pretty colored text that says “fix this later” and move on. Characters are always growing and developing through the process, and who they think they are in one scene may not be who they are in a much later scene. Stick your tongue out at them, tell them you're moving on to that steady word count, and force them to keep up.

    Good luck Misha. No matter how far you get towards the 50k goal, at least you are putting forth your best effort and getting as much writing done as you can.


  10. Sounds like those characters are more complicated than you thought! It might be time to take them aside and have a really good discussion about that they each want from the story before you can push forward. 🙂

  11. Hi Mischa, I had the same issues with my second book. They were characters I loved, but their lives had a lot going on more then I wanted to delve into, but felt I needed to in order to do the story justice. I felt like I was pulling teeth with the entire project, but I did finished it. So, keep at it. It will be worth it.

  12. You've gotten some great comments on this already!
    I've found that in my stories characters often take time to break in. Usually in the first 20k to even 40k words the characters are less than forthcoming, but if I persevere they make it worth my effort.
    In fact, that's what I love about NaNoWriMo! I can write without regard to 'quality', and usually end up with something that I'm pretty happy with anyway.
    Don't give up! 🙂

  13. I'm beating my head against the wall today trying to get out my word count (why I'm cheating and reading IWSG posts) Sometimes words are difficult to eek out-finishing my 1st novel was the worst, I had to make myself only write forward and be okay with writing crap.
    I hope you keep going and the wool gets thinner. It sounds like you have some amazing characters to work with.
    Best of luck!

  14. I'm finding writing a bit tough at the moment. I know exactly what my scenes should be (I have them all planned) but I'm using any excuse not to sit and write it at the moment.

  15. The novel I am currently working on is the hardest one so far, I believe. I like my story and I like my ideas, and at least it's going better now than the first 15k or so, but I know the writing absolutely sucks. Like really. I usually have no trouble ignoring this, but this is a different kind of sucking I guess.

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