NaNoWriMo Captain’s Log: Day 9

Captain’s Log, November 9th, 2009.

Jumping headlong into a novel like this can lead to some tricky bits. I have a definite ending for the story, but getting there is like crossing a wild and woolly wilderness, with each chapter a challenge in clear cutting a path through only vaguely mapped out areas.

So really, I have ideas for what I want to have happen, and I try to have thought out a couple chapters ahead of where I’m writing,  but it’s not arranged exactly or completely.

I like that. It’s like planting a seed and guiding its growth. You know it’s going to be an oak tree, but the tree itself is unique to how it grows.

And that means that I get to not only create the story, but I kind of watch how it unfolds. And if the story’s interactions amaze and amuse me, then it stand’s a good chance of doing the same to you.

I’ve always liked Robert Frost’s quote, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”

True enough, dear readers.

~Matt Booker

5 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Captain’s Log: Day 9

  1. I really like that quote you used (to the point that I’m going to put it in my Facebook profile) because it’s completely true. If an author fails to emotionally connect with her characters, then she can’t very well expect her audience to.

    (I say “her” and “she” because apparently authoring used to be associated with a female past time. BUT ALL THE GIRLS USED MALE PSEUDONYMS. Crazy historical societies.)

    Your description of the NaNoWriMo experience is, characteristically, right on cue. It’s really interesting to watch chapters unfold, that you’re writing, and have them surprise you. I mean, I wrote a chapter today about crossing the road. I don’t think I’d have normally intended on writing a couple thousand words on crossing a road. But I felt like it worked.

    The potential spontaneity of this whole experience is rather enjoyable.

  2. That’s my favorite way to write. Just a vague idea of what’s on the horizon, and you go along filling in the fog from beginning to end… to paraphrase, “writing’s a journey, not a destination” in cases like that, and I think it makes for a more fulfilling story to both reader and author.

    (Tangent: This is directly related to why reading the last few pages of a book is very rarely as special as reading the whole thing.)

    Even better is when you don’t have any real ending planned. I love hitting that “organic conclusion”, where I come out of the fog and realize the only thing left to write is “The End”… because a lot of the time it’s not the ending I would have chosen to write had I planned it out, but that’s just where the story went.

  3. Esoteric, the aforementioned preying mantis eating a guy while being interviewed on a talkshow chapter has been the longest one so far… o_0

    And that chapter owes its origins to something I heard on the radio. That something had nothing to do with giant preying mantises, tv talk shows, or even eating people. :)

    Luke, I can’t even comprehend writing a full story with no ending in mind. I have to have it there right at the creation of the story.

    Not that write the ending first or anything, but I know what it is. I have to have it there, like a looming titan, taking up the whole horizon with with it’s ominous weight. It’s blurry in the distance, and though I don’t know all the details until I’m up close, I can still see what it is. In the journey of the story, it’s a colossus, a massive thing, and the point of the journey is to reach it, climb it, and make of me its master!

    ~Matt Booker

  4. Hey, diff’rent strokes and all that. I often do know where I want the story to go, and that does give me a vague idea of ending, but more often than not I find myself surprised by exactly what shape the ending takes. Sometimes it doesn’t resemble at all what I thought it would.

    More than once I haven’t even LIKED the ending, but I knew it was the RIGHT ending. It’s odd, I know, but I actually find it a bit comforting. It says to me that the story has a life of it’s own, and as a creator, I think that’s a really fulfilling thing. Normal stories are easy; I take the most pride in my mutant bastard children.

    Nice “Shadow of the Colossus” ref, btw.

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