I is for… (#AtoZChallenge 2012)

I is for Ideas and Investment

(Post 9 on my WIP)

Image from am9w3 at stock.xchng

I’d tried NaNoWriMo a few times with the same old idea that I’d had since before uni (which involved Vampires! – Pre-Twilight but Buffy had just started) and I barely made 2,000 words for a number of years, I think because I had already started it and was already invested in making it ‘right’.
So for November 2010 I decided I’d try something new that I wasn’t so invested in. The whole idea of NaNoWriMo is to go for quantity over quality, cutting off your inner editor and just writing, writing, writing that first draft with the plan to edit at a later date.

I really wanted to succeed having decided to gain sponsorship for completing the challenge. My Auntie had been diagnosed with cancer so I chose Cancer Research UK as the charity to support (she actually passed away in December 2011 and I still have plans to organise something to raise money for the Hospice that cared for her in her last days).

I read a post last week (sorry can’t remember where now, visited too many good blogs – do tell me if it was yours) about people thinking writers have to have some special power and one foot in a special world of inspiration and then once they have their idea everything forms and comes together like magic. But as most writers themselves know really it takes a lot more hard work and stress and hair pulling than that.

So, where did I get the idea for Training Time?

Well after I’d decided I was in NaNo for the long haul this year I woke up one morning with this idea. Magic, hey?
Well no, not really. To be honest I wish I’d written down then what the actual dream had been about because I can’t remember now. I just know that there was a girl and she was going to a time police academy. I think (sorry my memory really is shocking) this was actually only a few days before the challenge started but I decided to do a bit of work on identifying characters and I came up with a list of 30+ prompt images/scenes etc to keep me inspired. So I guess I started with a bit of ‘plotting’ but only at a basic level – then I moved to a lot of ‘pantsing’ writing in a notebook or iPad on trains in Italy while I was on holiday. Then I came back and went to work and didn’t get much written. Eventually in the last weekend of the challenge I wrote 12-15 thousand words on the Saturday and Sunday to reach my target skipping to the end because ‘I wanted to know how it ended’.

Then I literally did nothing with it until Nov 2011 other than look at it every now and then and only managed to add 10,000 words in that month before sending it off to Beta-readers (as I’d promised). Now I’m back to ‘plotting’ stage and using Scrivener (more about that in a later post) to organise myself. I think because this book is about time travel it is going to need more intricate planning to make sure everything is where it is meant to be (more on that later too). I also think I work better in chunks of time. I know all the advice is to write a little every day but this just doesn’t seem to work for me (it never has with essays either).

Of course I’ve heard all of the horror stories of your first completed novel being a load of rubbish and often consigned to the back os a drawer never to be seen again but I really hope thats not the case and that it gets to be published even if I’m the one doing it myself. Because now I’m well and truly invested and already talking about sequels before I’ve completed the first.

Do you write everyday or have a different routine?
Where do you get your Ideas from?
Do stories pop into your head fully formed or require lots of nurturing?

Actually I’m wondering if everyone just has a bad memory like me so thinks ideas come from nowhere.

Posted on April 10, 2012, in #am writing (and all things writing related), April A-Z Challenge, Training Time (WIP) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hi I came here from the A-Z blogging challenge (I blogged also today about my work in progress) I wanted to say what a heart you have – to take NaNo and turn it into something special by donating money to such a good cause.I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your aunt.
    I do have to say,I don’t write every day. But it really depends… When I wrote my 2nd novel/current WIP, I wrote every day. I should say I wrote every night too. I really couldn’t get the story out of my bed-I’d be going to bed at 4 or 5AM and as a uni student you must understand it drives the roommates crazy lol!!! But now that I am editing/revising I am doing so every few days. I am giving myself breathing room because I have 2 last big assignments to write before I can graduate uni and they are both due at the end of the month. I am putting that priority over my editing 🙂
    Anyway nice to meet you and I hope when you get a chance you will stop by my blog 🙂

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thank You for the kind comments and condolences. I think if I was writing as my full time job I would write more everyday (at least I hope so) but am scared of doing what you describe above – being up so late when work has to be attended the following day.
      Good luck with the editing of your WIP – I may well nip back over when I need some editing advice – will go and visit now too.

      Take care

  2. I don’t write everyday. I write in spells. Right now I am editing a novel, and writing for the A to Z challenge. There is no time left to write–and I miss it. I am not a fan of the no-fun work–the editing, and the business end of it. I did NanoWriMo this past November. I had a couple pages jotted down of a book idea. It was a complete departure from the fantasy/romance I usually write. It was a good lesson–quantity–just write, write, write!

    I quit after 52,000 words. It is SUCH a hectic time of year. I work outside the home 40+, and I have not gotten back to it. But, the characters still start talking in my head from time to time. I have another project before I can return to that one.

    I am a “pantser” when it comes to writing. I think Stephen King best describes the process in his book, “On Writing”. We invent the world and the characters, but then we thrust the characters into a situation and “action”…the story begins. The characters react to the situation, speaking and acting through our minds, our words…

    The way you write in chunks sounds like you are a pantster, too. I can’t force it. If the characters aren’t talking and acting, the words just don’t flow.

    Nice to “meet” you. 🙂

    • Hi Teresa, Thanks for taking the time to share some great comments. Really interested in your comment about the ‘business end’ of the process.
      I have the Stephen King book but it was so long ago I read it – must take another look.
      It does sound like we are very similar – it’s nice to find people that work the same way – sometimes it seems like there is a lot of pressure to write everyday. I think I’m going to try Nano again this year with Book 2 (no matter how far I’ve got with Book 1).

      Off to visit your blog – thanks for the Twitter follow too.

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