Monday, November 9, 2009

National Novel Writing Month and Me

We're nine days into NaNo. Historically, I'd be well over half done by now. Last year, I hit the fifty thousand mark on this date. This year? My official tally is presently hovering just under 15k. It's a total I usually pass by day three.

On one hand, it's a respectable number of words. I'm right on target to reach the 50k mark at the end of the month.

On the other hand... It's so much less than I'm used to. Something's wrong. The question is, what? It's not the story, I know that much. It's me.

My brain is sluggish, hardly awake. The million thoughts that are usually there aren't. It's quiet. Too quiet.

It could be Depression. I've had recurring experience with the condition. The apathy fits.

It could be an aspect of ADHD. Just my brain being in an inattentive phase rather than the mental hyperactivty I'm used to.

It could be burn out. Exhaustion.

It could be a strange symptom of dehydration. This desert I find myself reluctantly living in is killing my skin, maybe it's murdering my brain as well.

It could be that I'm daunted by the amount of work ahead – sure, a rough draft's fun. But then there's months to years of rewriting. And then the agony of trying to get someone, anyone!, anywhere in the publishing industry to even look at the thing, let alone profess their undying love of it and overwhelming desire to see it in print.

I could simply have lost heart. Maybe the odds are too daunting, the pain too assured.

Maybe it doesn't matter why I've lost my motivation. Maybe I don't need to know that to find it again, to rediscover the joy of making things up. I was hoping NaNo would help me with that. So far, it hasn't yet...


My National Novel Writing Month History:

2006 – WERESTORY. YA Paranormal Romance. Girl gets bitten by a Were and winds up at a school for shapeshifters. 50K in 16 days. Draft completely finished at 64k in 20 days. Current Status: Endless revision. Came up with a Big Revision Idea near the end of summer that I'd like to explore later.

2007 – SHADOW. YA Paranormal Romance. Girl dies. Her spirit's tossed back in time by the trauma of her death, but she has no idea when or how she died. 50K in 13 days. Draft complete at 69k in 17 days. Current Status: Revised until summer '09. Sent out a few queries, got some requests for partials which were politely rejected. Revised, then revised again. Now need to summon the energy to bug more people with it in the hopes that the revising fixed whatever the other people didn't like.

2008 – EARTH AND FIRE. Paranormal Romance. My first attempt at non-YA. Shapeshifting Dragons in the Cascades. Reached 50k on Day 9. Reached 80k and realized that my story was too big. Why, exactly, were a relatively low-ranked Guardian and a bartending jewelry designer handling something that the federal government would have been all over the second there was a hint that a Senator was threatened by or involved with the bad guys? Lost several chapters due to computer wonkiness. Started over with a more personal less world-is-at-risk plot. Reached 50k again before the end of the month, but never finished the rewrite completely because my mother-in-law came to visit, it was Yuletide, and then I had to move. Current Status: haunting the back of my mind and influencing my car buying. (My family just picked up the exact same car the hero drives. I attempt to drive it a tad less recklessly than he does. =) I will complete a story about these characters one day. But I don't know when.

2009 – Imagine. YA Paranormal Romance. Girl has imaginary friends who are real. Her wandering throughts start affecting things around her. Bad things start happening, but she's not sure if they're her fault or someone else's. Status: creeping along at 15k.

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