Excuse: Haven't written a novel
Maybe... being a novelist just isn't in your stars?
Excuse: Haven't written a novel
Maybe... being a novelist just isn't in your stars?
Excuse: Filling blank spots on your world-building documents
You've built and rebuilt your world. You know exactly where the Festering Peaks are in relation to your protagonist's homeland, Mingralia (important because fey love-interest Auerllieria hails from the Effervescing Plains beyond the Festering Peaks). You have multiple notebooks filled with this stuff, not to mention the 6' x 6' map and the wiki.
You have a lot to be proud of.
But don't things feel a little... dull? Maybe you should draw a few more triangles in around the words "Festering Peaks." While you're at it, might as well color them in shades of green and brown, and add some snow. Well done! They look marvellous!
Hm. They look especially marvellous compared to the flat black and white of the rest of your world. Oh hell's bells. Better fill the whole thing in - a few trees here, a city there, and of course a serpent in the Sea of Blood, over the words "here there be dragons" written in Mingralian script.
Oo, better go design Mingralian script.
Excuse: Desperately Seeking Inspiration
Day 28 and my final weekend day before NaNoWriMo comes to an end (note to self: sickie on Tuesday).
Fortunately, I learned a handy little trick way back in high school. It comes in very useful at times like these.
Twitch the Stableboy, I need someone adolescent, weedy and... got it, Tad Williams! Oooh, some good physical description paragraphs too. Just how I saw Twitch, of course, but let's change the eye color in case someone notices.
Twitch learns the secret mysteries of the world from the wandering wizard Zakaroth, who might as well be... Eddings' Belgarath. Zakaroth tells him about a prophecy...no... Prophecy... and gets him on the way. Let's see, cheeky, alcoholic, a bit dirty - perfect. And there's like fifteen books on this guy, plenty of material. Eddings is dead, so this is all public domain anyway, right?
So far, so good. Hmmm. Eddings also writes a few chapters about leaving the farm behind, so I'll dog-ear those pages, but really, I should go back to Tolkien for this bit. If I lift chapters six through fourteen from Fellowship, I'll really nail that sense of departure. I wonder if I need to keep Tom Bombadil? Might as well - no one has ever actually read that bit anyway.
Shaz'ba'kool the barbarian swordsman is easy. There's only one African-American swordsman in the whole of high fantasy, and that's R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt. Shaz won't carry two swords (I mean, that'd be obvious!), so let's give him a pair of axes instead. Sorted!
I really want the "Chronicles of Mingralia" to get a literary feel as well, so I'll crib some of the gay sex scenes from Richard Morgan and maybe just some random words from China Mieville. I don't really know what he's saying most of the time, but he sells really well, so if I use words like "post-deconstructionist", "Bolshevik" and "amaryllis", everyone should be impressed.
If I had thought of this 28 days ago, I'd be done by now! Might as well go back to the pub to celebrate, nothing left to do here but the typing.
Excuse: Too Depressed
Yikes. It's November 27 and you may not quite meet your goal of 50,000 words for the month of November. (Word count: 238 - list of possible titles.) But who are you kidding? You're not a novelist, just some lame-o schmuck with foolish ambitions and pointless dreams. Everyone else on Twitter/Facebook/LJ/Tmblr/the NaNo site is way past 50,000 words by now; hell, they probably have enough for two books and you couldn't even decide what to name your heroine, much less what shade of green her eyes are flecked with. How are you supposed to write an entire novel from someone's point of view if you don't even know what she looks like?
Excuse: Friday Night
Another week, my forty hours
Of powerpoint and boss's glowers,
Although anxious to get out of here,
I may just linger for one beer.
Five long and unproductive days,
Labouring under my clients' gaze
After meeting rooms and painful grub,
Who could blame me for stopping at the pub?
When I achieve deserved success,
(mid-December, my best guess!)
I'll be a literary hero...
But tonight I'm fine, with a bit of wine,
and a word count stuck at zero.
Sophia McDougall, Bex Levene,
Richard Morgan and Jon Green,
Andrews and Lynch (both Scotts)
They started somehow -- perhaps with shots?
Tomorrow I'll get off my ass
But for tonight? Another glass.
Excuse: Too busy updating Twitter/Facebook/Tmblr/Livejournal
They say that writing is a lonely job, but it's not. It's really not! The entire internet is crawling with novelists looking for something, be it drawings of historical Dalmatae women's clothing, hints about Phonecian writing implements, advice about query letters, or simply a little moral support. And never more than during November.
So, in a way, it's in your best interest to continually update every form of social media to which you belong. It's not procrastination, it's networking!
Plus, it is so endlessly fascinating to the 102 people who follow you on Twitter how many words you've written since last you updated with your wordcount. It really is. I promise.
Excuse: I spent the day fretting about my query letter.
Look, the fact of the matter is that you will have this novel written (one week left!) and the first step towards publication is a really solid query letter. All the authors you follow on Twitter and Facebook say this; some even post examples of their own, or link to blog posts and websites devoted to the subject. And, to your surprise, thinking about how to describe your work is helping to clarify what, exactly, your work is. (It's suprisingly hard to put "epistolary post-feminist body-positive alternative-family paranormal zombie/werewolf/cabbage romance in a Lovecraftian deep-sea adventure after the style of A.C. Doyle mixed with Emily Brontë and with a nod to the George Lucas oevure" into a letter and not have it sound a leetle silly.) And everyone you've read on the subject says not to mention that it's a NaNo project, but Water for Elephants was a NaNo project and it just got greenlit for a film! And you've already got the film all planned out anyway. So why wouldn't you mention it?
Better work up another draft.
I can't believe it. After working so hard yesterday that I wasn't able to write a single word (word count: 0), my boss hauls me in today and tells me that I need to "show some commitment". Commitment? Commitment?! Who is she? My nagging fiancee? (girlfriend count: 0).
I'm committed alright. I'm committed to leaving this crappy job behind and MAKING IT AS A WRITER. Once I sell this book, I'm done with this shit. Push your own paper, bitchez, I'll be a freebird by December 2nd. (I've decided on a 48 hour auction format for the international rights.)
You know those lottery winners who still go to their old jobs every day? NOT. ME. Do you hear me, wage-slaves? When I'm living in my Soho loft, with ten dominatrix slave Leias feeding me peeled grapes & Mountain Dew, I'll take time out of my busy signing schedule to laugh at everyone in a necktie.
I know what the writer's life is like, and it is A-double-star sexy. None of this "getting up in the morning and having to accomplish something". I'll be sleeping in on my bed of (black silk) laurels and watching my billionty Facebook followers send me their organs, in the vain hope that I acknowledge them. I know how this game is played, and I'm a winner!
Writers don't have to work - once they finish a book, they're set for life!
After a fairly unproductive weekend (word count: 0), I figured I'd take advantage of my boring desk job to get some writing in. Let's be honest, after my book is completed (and immediately sold), I'm not going to be here much longer anyway.
I set my alarm so I could get in early - really write with the rising sun - but then, after I hit snooze six times, stopped for coffee & checked Twitter, I realized I was running late. Then I lost the entire morning to making rounds of tea, updating my Facebook profile & doing some cheeky research in to possible Mingralian cross-stitch patterns. I was so busy that I didn't even get a chance to update my blog before joining my friends in IT for a two hour lunch at Pizza Express.
The afternoon was completely lost as well. @SamSykesSwears and @MarkCN were having a debate about the importance of multicultural, transgendered root vegetables in cover art, and given that my layouts are practically finalised, I felt that I had to partake. Then, at 2ish, the US came online, and the internets got super-busy. Between farming, Tweeting and planning a raid for next weekend, I barely even had enough time to answer all my personal emails.
Well, what with all that work, 5 pm rolled around awfully early - and I felt completely justified in sneaking out early after a day that hectic. I have no idea how anyone could write a novel in the workplace. When would they find the time?!
I'm just about to - for real, this time - write the first chapter, in which Twitch the Mingralian stableboy learns of his magical heritage from a wandering old man who turns to be Old Zarkaroth, Wizard of the Mountains. But, right as I'm about to type, I think - "what mountains?".
Mingralia, as I can show you on many color-coded maps and mingralia.wiki.info, is a plains kingdom. The closest mountain range would be the Festering Peaks - but they're three thousand Mingralian leagues away, and, besides, that's the land of the Borborions, including my planned Borborion archer-commander, Shnaz'ba'cool, who doesn't even turn up until chapter 3 (unwritten)! Zarkaroth clearly can't come from there! (Plus, he's supposed to be...er... white.)
This is all wrong. I can't rename Zarkaroth, because I have that awesome pun planned for his inevitable battle with the Terminatrix Flux assassins (chapter 12) (unwritten). And now I'm second-guessing everything else, too! I've filled three carefully-alphabetized sketchbooks with reference material for Mingralian farming equipment and riding tack, but what if that's all wrong too!? I don't dare share the first chapter (unwritten) to the NaNoWriMo boards, only to have it shredded for improperly-considered saddle structure!
I'm just going to have to start over.