NaNoWriMo Report: Bad News/Good News Edition

It’s November 20th. Holy shit, there are 10 days left in NaNoWriMo, and I’m hovering at something like 18K.

So, The Bad News!

My NaNo novel is going terribly. Actually, it’s dead. The other night I finally came to grips with two facts:

1. As much as I liked the main character and her workplace, the central romance of the novel didn’t work. At all. The two had remarkably little chemistry, and there was no reason for them to ever get past a first awkward date. I wrote a lot of scenes of Sima at work and at home, but the romance? Wasn’t working.

2. Jesus, I am not a romance writer. I don’t mean that as disrespect; I’ve loved the genre for a longer time than I admit to (FOREVER). I thought this understanding of tropes and enjoyment of the genre would make it an easy fit. This was not correct.

Also, parts of it felt a bit too self-indulgent. There I was, writing about a woman in a relationship with a man who literally never spoke to her. As someone who has spent a lot of the last two years trying to understand men who aren’t emotionally forthcoming, it felt a bit like writing a diary at times, and I didn’t enjoy it.

Conversely, I am also not very emotionally forthcoming — just in a different way. So I’m writing my own communication issues into the female lead, while exploring the communication issues in the couple… Man, it got a bit not-fun. And not even in a sad way, just in a way that made me want to write, “Then she realized they were engaging in an unhealthy relationship dynamic and stopped seeing him for both their sakes.”

The Good News

I’m glad I decided to try something different. Really. I developed characters I’d like to use later, and learned things about myself as a writer. I’d call that a pretty successful experiment. And that it happened in the fast pace of NaNo helped me realize it faster than if I’d been plodding through the project at my own tortoise-like pace.

I still haven’t exactly given up on NaNo. I mean, I’m really far behind. And like I was telling the boyfriend and the roomie the other night, I don’t feel terribly motivated to win. I failed to win last year, breaking the streak. Without the pressure to maintain it, I just can’t quite get enthused. On top of that, I simply can’t quite balance freelancing writing, work, social events, and writing. I have too many things, and writing is the easiest for me to set aside for maybe later, even though I’m one of the loudest people saying, “You should never tell yourself maybe later.”

All the same, I’m switching over to the project I was originally going to do for NaNo (the Dreaming of Eden reboot) and seeing where that takes me. Even if I don’t make it to 50K, I’m glad to be back at a project I enjoy.

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