Monday, 19 November 2012

NaNoWriMo... or NaNoWriNoMo

I am the Warden!!

No, let me correct that.

(sigh) I am the Warden.

This novel, she puzzles me, intrepid readers. It pains me to admit, but I haven't written anything solid for the past three days. If I have any defence, the time was spent working on other projects, particularly the Adventurer gamebook, Fires Across the Plains. I had a different goal set to accomplish that project in time and needed to fire it off regardless of anything else for the sheer sake that it's a paid contract. (And technically my first in years, therefore the first of my full-time career.)

Now I have to confess. Part of that last paragraph was a lie. I could have easily put in the work on my novel, Messenger. I simply didn't.

We've established already this is my first serious attempt at completing any fictional writing aside from the occasional brief story used in RPG supplements and personal campaigns and taking this vehicle from 0 to 60 in 6 seconds has proven to be a true endurance challenge. When I started, I had it my mind to write a complete work of fiction from beginning to end and I've been treating this as such, save for the advanced planning and conception stages other projects require. It's worked out well during the initial stages of the story, starting from intense action and intrigue, some burglary, story-based dialogue as the protagonist learns their mission, escapes from enemies, even wanders the Wild for a chapter. While the last chapter was quite the challenge - I've never written a lot of exposition and travel scenes before - this new one has truly escaped me.

I have placed my central character in the middle of a dramatic, personal dialogue scene involving his wife. The event has been discussed and hinted at five pages before the time came and the character would not dodge the issue, much as he wants to, so I've literally backed myself into a corner and I'm stuck. Total blank.

You'd think the scene could write itself because of its catch. Tomas, AKA the Messenger, doesn't live with his wife, the chieftain's daughter of an isolated tribe deep in the marshes. Messengers are honour-bound to travel the Wild regions of the Found Lands delivering word to its people, fulfilling requests, and other related tasks. He's never home; he doesn't have a home. He lives on the open road. His wife was given to him as a "gift" when he made a pact with her father and now he's "home" for the first time in years. That should be enough to get cracking on this sucker, right?

Nope. Not happening. And it weighed on me.

The strange part is my indifference on the matter. Not that I don't care, but I see value in achieving whatever goal. If it turns out I can only reach 40,000 words, for example, I've still learned I can pump out 40,000 words on a single project within a month. More importantly, 40,000 words on a single project juggled in the middle of other projects. Unlike many other NaNos, I'm not fitting in this writing time in addition to a regular workload, including paid employment. All my work on Messenger is done during my usual work hours because I want to know my current limit before I can improve on it. Similar to typing speed, you need to know how slow you were at the start before you start increasing your speed.

So if I don't hit 50k, I'm not going to beat myself up. It's my first effort and just because I'm trying to break into full-time/freelance game design doesn't mean I'll miraculously start with the productivity of Monte Cook. It's a learned process, as it is with any other job.

Now, all that negativity aside, a bit of unfortunate luck has fallen in my lap. My regular Sunday D&D game was cancelled and since Saturday was spent ensuring there's nothing else to interfere with Sunday, I have nothing but time to get caught up (I'm currently sitting at 22,406 words - nearly 6,000 words behind schedule). Even my fiancée is kicking my ass to get caught up. The only thing stopping me at this very moment is popping out a quick blog entry on my current NaNo status.

Wait. Now I've written myself into writing that scene. Guess I better get moving.