NaNo Status Update, Day 14: On Wordiness
Listening to: Rise Against, “Whereabouts Unknown”
So I’m 500 words behind on my NaNo. No worries, though–I’ll catch up today, no problem. I’m actually excited to push past it.
Why, you ask? And how? How can you possibly be excited to write after vomiting out 1667 words each day (okay, and 3000 on that one day, after I missed the day before) for the past thirteen days?
Valid questions. I will get to them in the most roundabout fashion possible.
One of the interesting things about doing NaNo, especially for the first time, is studying the effects it has on your writing, both the process and the actual product. I talked about the strange effect it’s had on my process, in my super-special, I’ve-had-too-much-caffeine way, last week. And last night I realized how it’s affected my product.
Usually, when I really get into a novel, I start getting really excited about seeing what happens in the next scene, or about writing that scene, or about seeing the aftermath of that scene. I start imagining it in my mind, picturing it, savoring it. And I get the itch to write. Which is nice, since I don’t have to force myself at all.
I’ve reached that point now. So I wrote yesterday, trying to reach the scene I wanted to reach, and it led me to an interesting revelation. Because I didn’t get to that scene.
I wrote 1100 words. At the start, my MC and the object of her affections were in her car, driving to a particular destination. At the end of those 1100 words, they were still in the damn car. They’d driven maybe two miles.
Nothing. Had. Happened.
What had I written, then? A line of dialog or two, and lots o’ pretty, pretty description. I even inserted a comment for a particular line, something to the effect of, “This is the purplest of purple prose.” Yes, description has its place, and is necessary for clarity, scene-setting, and pacing (and sometimes symbolism and foreshadowing). But I realized that I’d become a word machine, simply churning out sentence after sentence of, essentially, nothing.
I have a natural wordiness–I have to strive for economy
quite frequently. (See? Were those two words necessary? Not at all.)
So this is proof, I suppose, that NaNo is working in one respect–it’s shut up the Inner Editor, bound and gagged him, and shoved him in the closet. He still gets a word in now and then, as with the purple prose comment,* but for the most part he’s quiet. And I draw out my scenes with a bunch of crap about the pretty, pretty leaves, and the road, and the sun setting in the distance, and blah blah blah.** Most of which will probably be removed in January.***
Looking back, I can think of many places in this manuscript with superfluous description.
And this is why I’m excited to write today–because I will push past that scene and get to the one I’m itching to see. I have over 2000 words in which to do it. No, I won’t let the inner editor out–he stays in the closet until 12:01 a.m. on December 1. I’ll just…well, not sure how I’m going to do this without Inner Editor.
I guess I’ll just have to write and find out.
*He shouted that one when I removed his gag to give him his daily bread and water.
**And the leaves are pretty, and the sun is pretty, but they’re not the freakin’ main characters, so maybe they shouldn’t have more words devoted to them in one scene than I’ve devoted to my characters. Gah!
***Being a good girl and letting it sit for a month. Maybe longer, since I still have to edit Grim Light. Oh my, I have a lot of editing ahead…it makes my head hurt just thinking about it.