Day Six of NaNoWriMo and I’ve gotten a few emails/messages asking about my word count on the NaNoWriMo site. It was registering as zero up until the other day.

I know I can be slow and/or procrastinator, but I have written more than zero days!

Seems I was entering my word count incorrectly somehow. That word count thing on the website is counterintuitive and/or broken. At any rate, I’ve adjusted my total word count to date which as of Monday morning was 4,455 words — which sucks for 5 days of writing.

But to be fair, I’ve only written two of those five days.

You see, I hit a stumbling block when my son got sick last Thursday, which meant I needed to go to bed early instead of working through the night, and then wake up in the morning (WHAT?!) to watch him. So I didn’t get my full word count in on Thursday.

Then the rest of us got sick.

And I was pretty much watching him/feeling like shit for the past few days.

But I’m back in the saddle today and writing, and picking up right where I left off. Still feeling crappy, but hey, there’s people out there feeling worse than me or have more obligations than me that still manage to get words in, so no excuses!

Besides, it wouldn’t be the NaNoWriMo challenge if there wasn’t some element of CHALLENGE involved.

It’s all too easy to let real world distractions derail us.

Whether it be you getting sick, family getting sick, work obligations, feeling down in the dumps or down on your writing or super anxious, or just having unforeseen interruptions, there’s almost ALWAYS something that seems to get in the way …

… if you let it.

And, believe me, I let stuff get in the way a lot!

But the secret to actually finishing a book (something that took me decades to get to), is to not let the little things derail you.

Find a way to catch up and get back in the rhythm (side note and confession: even in my forties, I STILL need spell check to tell me how to spell rhythm.)

So, yes, I’m back at it. And I’ll update my word count when I’m done writing for the night, but I still anticipate finishing the book I’m working on this month.

As for how I’m feeling about the story, I’m … not sure.

Some of the character work early on is making me uncomfortable. I’m writing about a man who cheats on his wife, and that’s damned difficult to do while still also making the character sympathetic.

Hell, I’m not sure if I can make him sympathetic.

And early on, the character of the wife comes off a bit bitchier than she is, and I worry that both characters will turn readers off before the characters natures are more fully developed/revealed.

I think this is a case of me questioning readers’ patience.

I was recently reading some reviews of Yesterday’s Gone Season Two, which ends on some VERY grim notes for several characters, with a big fat TO BE CONTINUED … at the most shocking moment.

I was surprised by a few recent reviews from people who actually gave up on the series after that. They didn’t even stick around to the third book to find out if the people you think died might have lived (spoiler: some did live).

Granted, it’s just a few readers, not the majority, but still…

I’m surprised that readers weren’t more patient. It is a cliffhanger, after all, and cliffhangers routinely tease you. That’s what I love about them!

The impatience makes me question how long I can stretch out certain elements/ plot points before I lose some readers. And is it a fault with my storytelling or is it the nature of less patient readers?

If the former, I need to learn to pace things better. If the latter, then I need to decide if I stick to the story as I feel it should be and not worry about the few who are impatient. As a writer, you can’t second guess your story too much before it weakens your story and you as a storyteller.

So, I’m trying to find some balance here as I write this story.

Usually, this sort of thing would derail me until I figure it out. I’d stop everything and try to work out a fix. But, with this 30 day deadline for NaNoWriMo, I can’t afford that luxury.

I need to plow forward and assume that either me or Sean will manage to work out any issues in the editing round(s).

So, if you’ve read this far, you’ll see two areas where NaNoWriMo is helping hold my feet to the fire. I’m not allowing a brief illness or schedule changes to set me back too much, and I’m not allowing doubts about the story to, either.

I’ll update you on Wednesday with a new word count and some thoughts which might inspire you for NaNoWriMo.

Note: You may notice that the featured art in today’s post has NOTHING to do with the post itself. Well, I like to have art of some sort with each blog post. I’d prefer to draw it all myself, but time being what it is, that’s not usually possible.

So I’ve decided to showcase some Deviant Art artists whose work I like in posts where I don’t have anything else that goes with a post. And this piece, Fallen Titan, looks like something out of an open world video game. I love exploring big open world games to see what kind of landscapes that the game developer/artists have come up with. Plus, I’ve been on a bit of a thing lately where I really want to write something post-apocalyptic or fantasy. I’m building two worlds in StoryShop in advance of being able to write in those worlds maybe next year, and art like this inspires me.

Fallen Titan used with Creative Commons license. Original art here: https://josheiten.deviantart.com/art/Fallen-Titan-601220926

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Rythym is a messed up word no matter what!

    The art really struck me, kind of like David and Goliath!

    Hope you all feel better soon, and thanks for the pep talk.

    Reply
  2. It is possible to make a cheater sympathetic, but it’s a lot harder to think that way when it’s so deeply ingrained in you that it is wrong. But under different circumstances you might think differently.

    For example, imagine a wife at home taking care of the house, cleaning and cooking, and making sure the kids are all taken care of and put in bed so that she can have a nice night with her husband when he gets home from work. She’s done all of this because she loves him, and just wants to make him happy.

    Then he gets home and the first thing he does is scream at her. He found one spot on a high shelf that wasn’t cleaned, and she was lazy and ungrateful, and how dare she miss a spot. “Dinner? Disgusting. I can’t believe I waste my time on you.”

    Not once, but over and over again. Month after month. Year after year. She is slowly beaten down, thinks less and less of herself, sinks into depression till she can barely get up in the morning. She starts praying to God to let her die, and if it wasn’t for her children needing her maybe she would have done something, anything, to end it. But she doesn’t have anywhere to go, and no one offers help. Even her church tells her to wait it out, it will get better. There’s the children to think of, after all, and you should stay together for them.

    Then someone comes along who actually treats her with some decency. He said she’s beautiful, and admires how much hard work she does just to keep her home running, and the kids taken care of. They have long conversations, and talk about science, news, philosophy, and of course, her troubles. He encourages her to get out, to stand up for herself, to be herself.

    It’s easy to say she should have left, should have gotten a divorce. It’s harder when you are in that situation with three kids and no one to turn to, no car, no phone, no family, and just one voice speaking out from the darkness. When you’re so low that you can not even see a light at the end of the tunnel and someone offers you a beacon…things can happen. Is it right? Is it wrong? I’m not going to judge. I just know that after finally getting enough self respect to get a divorce she never cheated again. And cheating was one of the things that helped her realize just how bad her life was.

    I know a man who’s wife won’t sleep with him, but he loves her and his children, and divorce just doesn’t seem right. If he slipped up on one lonely night I don’t think I’d blame him. And I also know people who just cheat because they don’t care about their significant others, they just care about the moment. But the act usually isn’t so black and white, it’s the situation and the feelings behind it that make it sympathetic or not.

    Reply

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About David W. Wright

Writer, cartoonist, one of the Kings of the Serial with co-author, Sean Platt. Together we've written the #1 horror and #1 sci-fi bestselling post-apocalyptic series, Yesterday's Gone, the sci-fi horror series, WhiteSpace, and the dark fantasy series, ForNevermore. Check out our stuff at http://collectiveinkwell.com

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NaNoWriMo, writing