Monday, November 09, 2009

NaNoWriMo inspiration

If you'd like to read the very first part of this year's novel, there is an excerpt here under Novel Info although the site is sometimes slow to respond during November.

A little over a year ago, I went with Scott to see author Brandon Sanderson speak at a bookstore nearby. For those who don't know him, Brandon Sanderson authored, among other things, Elantris and Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. So far, I have managed to read only the latter. Brandon Sanderson also has the amazing but daunting job of finishing the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. It is the work that will probably make his other works more famous.

Sanderson was not the only author in attendance that evening. David Farland also attended, read an excerpt, and spoke about his writing process. After both had spoken and people came up to get books signed, David Farland had spoken to the handful of people who were interested and was still sitting there as Brandon Sanderson continued shaking hands and signing books. Since there was no line, I decided to talk to David Farland.

November was approaching, so I asked if he had heard of National Novel Writing Month. He had. I asked him what he thought of it. He said he liked the idea. (One of the hardest thing about writing a full-length novel is getting going to do it. The plot gets a bit stuck, the inner critic gets started complaining about what a mess you've made already, and Chapter Two never quite gets written. NaNo makes it a race, so there is motivation to press on even if things are not going exactly according to plan.)

He asked if I was going to write that year (2008). I told him I had written in 2006. I got to 50,000 words. I don't think I'd spend another minute on it, and I don't think I'd print out the manuscript if I needed to prop up the too-short leg of a sofa. Brandon Sanderson also described writing five "practice" novels that he will never publish before even attempting to publish one.

David Farland smiled and said, "Yes, but you learned something, didn't you?"

He was exactly right. I wrote in 2008, and while the result was far from perfect, it is something I could envision revising and showing at least to friends. It was also a lot easier. I picked an easier premise, planned the plot a little bit better, and generally had more fun with it. This year, so far, has proved even easier in all those respects.

I may never publish a novel, but at least I will learn what it's like to write one, what is involved in the process, and several things to do differently next time.


Post a Comment

<< Home