Have you ever been writing along, and realised that your work is absolute crap? I don’t just mean bad, I mean quite possibly the most self indulged, grammatically poor, worst laid out, boring, dull, dreary, characterless story that has every existed? Truly, and utterly crap? Well, I have, several times now.
In my first nano, this wasn’t really that much of a problem. I decided to write a mainstream fiction story, and whenever I would get bogged down in something not so interesting, something that just slowed down the pace of the story, I would cut to the chase, literally. Whatever my next action sequence was, that is what I would cut too. And it was good, or at least so I’m told. I’m told that it was engaging, and exciting, and gripping, and interesting, and most of all, fun. It was everything a good mainstream fiction should be. I even managed to make my wife cry when I killed off a main character, and again in the final scene held in a cemetery. I’m actually quite proud of those two.
My second attempt, wasn’t so successful, and to be honest, I can’t even remember what I was trying to write. I actually didn’t even manage to make my 50,000 words. I suspect that I changed stories multiple times during the month and therefore couldn’t make the word count, despite having on regular occasions pulled out well over 10-15 thousand words in a single day.
My third attempt was a poor, poor, really really poor, science fiction attempt. It made 50,000 words, but I’ve since dumped it into the bottom of a drawer (metaphorically, its actually in a zip file hidden somewhere obscure on my hard drive), and haven’t touched it since. I mean, really really bad. But, I had to try it, I loved the idea of writing a science fiction, even if I couldn’t pull it off, or even come up with a decent concept to base my story on.
My fourth attempt was good, or at least, once again, that’s what I’m told, but I never actually finished the story. I was writing a murder mystery, and I had an interesting killer, with an interesting technique, and an interesting plot development that was going to eventually finish with the hero finding out who the killer was, and have one final plot twist at the end, just for good measure. Because I never finished the book, there is no way for me to say whether or not it was worthy of the praise my wife gave me in writing it.
Now I’m on my fifth attempt and I’m going back to science fiction. It’s a good concept, in a good world, with an actual story to tell. The only problem, it’s still horrible. I’m four and a half thousand words into the story, and I’m hating every word I’m putting onto paper. My first fifteen hundred words were excellent, and my wife thoroughly enjoyed the way the scene played out. But ever since then, I’ve not been able to write anything worth reading.
I know nano is all about turning off your inner editor, and just letting the story you have inside of you out, putting it onto paper, good or bad, and enjoying the challenge. But there is still this part of me that says: “No Ian, this is terrible work, you must give it up and try something better!”
It’s only my second day of NaNo 2010, and already I want to scrap what I’ve got and start again. I’ve even been tempted to become a NaNo Rebel and try rewriting my original story again, but only this time, with more actual story to tell. I don’t think I will do that, but it doesn’t change my extreme desire to scrap everything past my first fifteen hundred words and try again... I suppose even then, if I did that, what would I put in its place? pudding? I should think not. I’ve got no other idea to put in place of the terrible work I’m putting into the story now.
Every year I think this is a good idea, and then, as with this year, a day or so in I begin to wonder why I put myself through it. And I want to become a published author? Ha! I clearly don’t have the backbone. Now I just have to figure out what the rest of my story is going to be filled with if it isn’t going to be the tripe that’s coming out of me at the moment... I hope you are all having better luck than I.
Days Remaining: 28
Words Remaining: 44670