Writing: NaNoWriMo 2011 Day 8: A week in

[9860]

A week has passed since National Novel Writing Month began, and so far, I’m behind and having to work really, really hard to make this story I’m writing work.

And that’s ok.

What I have discovered over the past week is that there is a lot more to writing and to my style of writing than I originally allowed for. I tend to develop my stories in layers, often from a central premise, so that the layers become wider and wider circles, one covering over the one previous.

Why does that matter? Because now I understand something I haven’t for years: why my stories always seem unfinished after my first attempt at them. That’s because they are.

Now, how does that help me? Well, for one, it is making me realize that I need to loosen up a whole lot more while working on my first drafts. I need to let the story flow more, let it take wrong turns, let characters grow, appear, and disappear as necessary until I finally have a workable draft. I also need to focus more on developing my idea before I start writing so that I have a better framework to hang the whole story on.

And why should you care? Because I want you to see that writing is not just about creativity, inspiration, and desire. It’s also about style and craft and technique. Successful writers have to have both if they are going to succeed, and learning how to develop all aspects of your writing cannot help but help you succeed.

DLH

PS: If you want to read the final product of my NaNoWriMo 2011 effort, you can help make that happen by donating to NaNoWriMo and the Office of Letters and Light through my fundraising page. If I reach $250, I will post my story December 1st, and if I reach $500, I will also post an expanded version of my preview story January 1st.

Read more at my Writing site...

Writing: Sharpening one’s focus

I find that it is very easy as a writer to lose one’s focus or to have far too broad of a focus. For me, that lack of focus usually comes from my obsession with writing a novel.

The problem is that–at least I suspect the problem is that–I am not a novel writer in the classic sense of the idea. I cannot nor do I usually sit down and write copious amounts of words every day that can eventually come to represent a novel. Instead, I find that I am more of a vignette writer: someone who write short bursts of fiction, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but rarely of the kind that can be considered a novel.

As a result, I have spun my wheels for almost a decade now trying to finish a novel while some of my widest reaching and most successful works have been short stories that I finished in my characteristic vignette style. Over the past several months, that reality in my writing has come into sharp focus, and I cannot help but pursue the path that focus reveals.

The latter is not to say that I am abandoning my obsession with writing a novel. To the contrary, I am changing my approach to writing a novel that better fits the way I write and why I write that way. The objective remains the same even if the route is different.

So, what is your obsession in writing? What causes you to lose focus? What kind of writing are you the best at? The worst at? What helps you regain your focus?

DLH

Read more at my Writing site...