Saturday, November 04, 2006

NaNo Lessons

Thought some of you might like to see how one writer's work goes, so I've collected some stats on my first 3 days of NaNoWriMo.

TITLE: Discovery

TAG LINE: Can the discovery of an alien ship help a nun in crisis discover God's purpose for her?

PLOT: Sr. Rita is torn between her vows and her love for James Smith. To escape the need to make a decision, she flees the university where she teaches, her order, and even the Earth by joining the Order of Our Lady of the Rescue. Nonetheless, she cannot escape memories of James. When ColeCorp, an interplanetary conglomerate with interests in everything from education to asteroid mining, discovers a crashed alien ship in the Kuiper Belt, it assembles a team of researchers and miners to explore the ship and bring it back to Luna for further study. They hire the "Rescue Sisters" Sr. Rita and Sr. Ann, to oversee safety. But when they also hire archaeologist James Smith, Rita must face dangers of the soul as well as those of space.


"HOLES" IN STORY (where I write "describe," "need problems," "brilliant idea" because I can't think of anything at the moment): 12

TECH (need technical info): 5

WORDS (couldn't think of the right word, so I stuck in a substitute): 19

HELP: (Need technical advice, quotes, etc. from others): 6

ROOMS I'VE WRITTEN IN: 4--(schoolroom, kitchen, bedroom (in bed, ont he couch, and standing with the computer perched ont he ironing board), bathroom. The joy of laptops)

THINGS I'VE DONE WHILE WRITING: teach, cook, clean, exercise, chat with friends (Yahoo IM, both distraction and aid!), and tweaked my website for ISIG. And I've fallen asleep over the computer a few times.

The point? Writing is a messy process. Not every writer has their novel spring fully formed from their minds like some kind of Greek god. Nor does every writer thoroughly research their ideas beforehand. In this case, I had only a general idea what I needed until I started writing. Writers don't always have the correct words or phrases; some of the best writing comes after struggle and re-write.

While some people function best when in a place specially set aside for their craft, some of us squeeze it in wherever and whenever we can.

Nor do writers need to do it alone. I'm only on chapter 3, and already I need to find people to help me with zero g physics, distributive economics, hypoxia, and changing religious orders. I've already sent questions to the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Catholic Economic justice Society, a physicist friend, and my writers group. When Rob gets back from TDY, he's going to devote a few hours to my questions, holes, and words as well.

The important thing in all of this is that the words are getting written. Jumbled, messy, full of questions and ????, they nonetheless tell a story that, with time and editing, will flow as smoothly as if dictated by the Muses themselves.

(There's a great analogy for Catholic SF--maybe I'd better tag that "reword.")

Now, I've written way too many words that should be going to the novel. Until Tues!

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