Monday, October 24, 2011

NaNoNeeNeeNaWaNawWah (or something)

So, I've decided I'm in. In spite of 20-hour train rides, inevitable bouts of illness, and the myriad volunteer commitments that Danae has signed us up for, I'm going to attempt National Novel Writing Month.

To my intense annoyance, Danae insisted on signing me up at the official NeeNerNoVaWaHoHooRah website, although I haven't taken the time to fill out all the profile info, etc.

I might submit to all this we-can-do-it enthusiasm in theory, but I'm still cheating: I'm just going to do a second draft of the Awful Space Opera.

But, in the hope that the act of putting things on paper is somehow inspiring, I'm going to re-type the whole thing, rather than going through and editing the first draft in Word.

So I'm committing to type 50,000 words in November. I'm not saying they'll all be original, but I will physically write them before the month is out.

'Just make sure someone gets killed with a chainsaw.'

You must, you must, you MUST follow Story Notes From Hell.

Monday, October 10, 2011

All about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ...

Why are writers supposed to keep a journal? Does it actually achieve anything?

I know you need to find time to write every day, and a journal entry is the easiest place to start. Practice is always important, but is it the right kind of practice? Is talking about myself actually going to help me get better at channeling other people?

Frightening thought: What if this religious devotion to journaling—and, yeah, well, blogging—actually saps one's ability to write fiction? They say that runners have to choose between distance and speed, that you can't hone your sprinting and marathoning muscles at the same time. Maybe you can't keep a detailed journal and write a novel at the same time.

Debunked fake memoirs are in the news every year, and I think the obsession with journaling is part of the problem. Everyone gets really good at talking about themselves, but they find their lives lack the necessary zing for the big time. So they stick with the journaling medium and just make stuff up.


Wait a sec, I need to go edit my Blogger profile.

There, that's better.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Everything is copy

Globe-trotting is definitely not conducive to fiction writing. I need a certain level of boredom to get lost in my own imagination, and India is definitely not boring. But oh, the material ...

I have always been leery of using actual human beings as inspiration for fictional characters. No matter how sympathetic the portrayal, it still feels like exploitation. Otherwise, the neighbor who recently told me and my late-returning roommates to go on and have a good rest so she could beat us in the morning would definitely have a place in my next project.

The city of Delhi itself has a beautifully post-apocalyptic feel sometimes. (This, coming from me, is a compliment, and I hope will be taken as such). The gorgeous crumbling architecture, the ever-hungry pariah kites wheeling overhead, the very modern police officers guarding ancient ruins—all this contributes to an atmosphere that cries out for some epic plot to hurtle through its streets.

One element that definitely belongs in a film, rather than a novel, is the beautifully enunciated station announcements on the metro. If the authorities were not (with reason) so paranoid about attacks on public transportation, I would try to capture the perfect Anglo-Indian elocution of the two announcers on my voice recorder. But the recorder would have to be held right against a speaker to get decent sound quality, and I am too much of a coward to do anything so peculiar in public, for fear of being hauled away for questioning.

Here endeth my observations for the week. I'm still debating whether or not to attempt National Novel Writing Month this year. It would be very hard to do, combined with the commitments I've made to do some volunteer work in November. But I hate to put it off a whole year.

I might just cheat: Instead of starting a new project, do a rewrite of that awful novel I abandoned four months ago. (Was it four months? Who knows.) I'm not sure I'll even have time for that. But perhaps it's worth a shot.