Why I Could Never Do NaNoWriMo

Hey NaNoWriMo-ers! How are you doing? Keeping sane?

A better question: What are you doing here when you have a novel to write? Go! Away with you!

Still here?

Well, it’s your novel. (You’re probably almost done, because it’s almost the end of November, and I epically failed at my month blogging challenge and my perception of time is so off.)

I should mention that I am amazed by you, NaNoWriMo-ers. Because I cannot write a novel in a month. I can’t.

Let’s talk about how my writing process is stupid.

It’s really really dumb. Basically, my brain comes up with characters before it comes up with a plot. And then it proceeds to come up with character interactions, without actually developing a plot whatsoever. 

I mean, there’s a general idea for a story. I have a general conflict in mind. But the progression of events that is actually going to resolve and/or confront this conflict sort of hazy. I usually start off with dialogues, alternating between two characters, inserting mannerisms and tone as I get a good grip on my characters, and then…

And then I have to face the fact that I have to string these dialogues together with the context that I had in mind.

Granted, I know where the story is going by this part. I have a rough pattern of what I want. And it starts to go well, until I come across what I call “floating” dialogue—underdeveloped dialogue that I should have associated with character names and context, but didn’t because….reasons.

And this presents a huge problem. It’s like trying to cook, and you only have one obscure ingredient, and an ideal end dish, but nothing else. It’s like someone gives you a tomato and tells you to make a pizza.

For example, I was looking at one of my old drafts, and this was the worst example of “floating” dialogue I had:

“I followed her here.”

That’s what I’d like to know.

Seriously, there were no character names, no context other than these two lines of dialogue. And they were just sitting in the Word document, waiting to be turned into the turning point in what is probably a dramatic scene.

But who followed who where and why they did this are complete mysteries to me. And it’s a terrible way of writing.

I actually took a correspondence course on creative writing and I know you’re supposed to plan out your story before you begin writing. And if I’m honest, I never actually have written a novel. I just have extensive character studies.

Will I ever write a novel? Who knows.

But it definitely won’t be written in a month.


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