Another Ending…Writing sdrawkcaB

I have this short story I want to submit to a the Austin Chronicle short story contest.  It’s not finished.  The deadline is SOON!

So, to force myself through to that ending, here’s the exercise I’m going to try:

Writing the ending I want first and then write backwards from there.  This exercise makes the writing more like solving a logic problem, or even a maze, but sometimes taking things out of chronological order gives you the freedom to write without thinking about “how am I going to get there?”

Of course, I will need to reorder what I come up with, and I will also probably need to do some severe editing after the fact…the word limit for this contest is 2500 words.  I am usually much more verbose in my stories…5000 word limits can be a challenge for me.

Since I know I have this limit, though, I think I am going to try another writing tactic–this one from from high school…writing on index cards.  This can help solve the non-chronological problem, too, because not only will the index card put a boundary on what I am writing, it can help with the “moving things around” aspect of reorganizing.

I am looking forward to this puzzle now.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

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WHEW! NaNoWriMo is Over…Bring on the next deadline!

I am not going to pretend or try to fool you, dear reader, that NaNoWriMo was a successful undertaking for me this year.  Alas, it was a dismal failure!  Again, circumstances beyond my control intervened in my completion of this noble task.

So, I am going to do what I do every year.

Go back to doing what I was doing before.  An obvious choice, perhaps, but one that suits me well.

And for the short term, there is a local short story contest upon which I have honed my focus.  It’s just a week from the due date, so I need to focus in on that somehow, with my one local story that is “almost” done being the thing that needs the fixerating.  It probably needs some major editing, what with a 2500 word limit, but I will, again accept the challenge with hopefulness in my heart and willingness in my hands.

Let’s see if I can complete *this* one, dear readers.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Good luck in your own pursuits!  Now, where did I leave that second cup of coffee….?

+++This message brought to you by a stress-addled mind+++

Keep calm and spike your coffee with rum!

NaNoWriMo: Five Confessions!

Sigh.

Confession #1.  My word count, as of today, is 10,017/50,000.

This is good, because it’s better than nothing.  This is bad, because the goal for this day, in the middle of the month, is more like 25,000/50,000.  I’m only 14,983 behind.  Unfortunately, this is more than I can make up in one night.

Confession #2.  I am tempted to quit.

See?  This is where I was each of the previous years I decided to partake in NaNoWriMo.  Two weeks in and already so far behind that I feel like I can’t catch up.

So, let’s see if I can talk myself out of it with some rational numbers.  If I can write 2,665 words a day from here on out, I can still hit the goal by November 30th.  It’s not out of the question.  There may be hope?

Confession #3.  I am a really slow writer when it comes to writing in longhand.

Even when I pick up the pace, it takes me about 2.5 hours to write the original goal of 1,667/night with my pen and paper.   Actually, it ‘s pencil, but who is keeping score on that?  So…I have got to turn to typing.  As if with fingers ablaze!  I acutally type about 60 wpm, so with *that* math, it should only take me about 44 minutes to write that much a day.  Easy, peasy.  Right?

Sigh.

The problem with typing is that it doesn’t, for whatever reason, incite the same sort of creative spark that writing on paper gives me.  I wish it did…I really, really do!  But, gosh darn it, it just doesn’t.  At least, not yet.

Confession #4.  I am not in love with my character anymore, and I want her to hurry up and get where she is going.

So…yeah.  I have been writing this story chronologically.  I am stuck in El Paso with a runaway.  She is 18, but kind of…too methodical and beseiged by guilt/sadness to “get a move on.”  Plot twists present themselves and I think, “No, not this girl.  She wouldn’t take that bait.  She is too ____ to do that.”  Or I might think, “I should just skip her out of El Paso to someplace more interesting.”  But then I tell myself I am getting ahead of myself.

I think it is time to give myself permission to write whatever part of the freaking story/character I feel like writing and stop being so…controlling…about it.  Just putting that thought into words is like a little golden apple someone just dropped into my pocket.  How exciting!

Confession #5.  I can’t stop thinking about all the other stories on my “to do” list.

I think it’s because I’m getting into writing again, those favoritest characters of mine are just piping up in the back row of my brain with arms flailing, screaming “pick me! pick me!”  Or maybe it’s a grass is greener in the other story kind of thing.  Or maybe this whole NaNoWriMo method of bucking the system and “focusing” on a single project is difficult for my brain to catch hold of.  I mean, I literally have an excel spreadsheet with like 10 tabs in it to capture story ideas and character details so they won’t float away.  It’s a good exercise, though.  Deadlines and the like.  I get it.  I even want to do that.  It’s just hard to keep the creative juices flowing with just one flavor.  I don’t really have a solution for this confession except to tell myself, “Sit! Stay! Work!”

I’m sure we’ll all survive.  Somehow.  Hopefully, not by quitting.  Again.