Word Count: 30027/50000
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Like many other bloggers, I am participating in this year's National Novel Writing Month for the first time. I thought it would be fun to touch base each week and see how everyone is progressing, as well as cheer each other on!
Well, here we are. The last Monday of NaNoWriMo. Where did the month go?! *deep sigh* I got rather behind over the holiday, but I am determined that I AM going to finish. I have a paper and exam to get through tomorrow, but once that's over, I'm devoting my Tuesday evening and all day Wednesday to finishing this thing. All the winner tweets on Twitter are making me go both "OMG YAY YOU ARE AWESOME!" and also "OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?" Is anyone else having that reaction? But it is fortunately the kick I need to keep me going. As my wonderful Noveling Club leader says, NaNoMiracles DO happen. It CAN be done! *waves pompoms* (I'm saying this as much for my benefit as for yours, dear reader.) And no matter what, 30K is more words than I have ever written on any of the projects I've started in the past, so I kind of already feel like a winner -- and so should you. *pats self on the back* *passes around cookies*
For this last NaNoWriMonday, I wanted to talk a little bit about the authors who inspire me. These are the people who made me want to try writing in the first place. Their beautiful words and worlds and insight made me go, "Hey! I want to do that!" These are the people who I think are the best at what they do, and whose writing I study to figure out what they're doing so very right.
(This might look a bit like my Top Ten Tuesday post last week...) In no particular order:
J.K. Rowling: I'm not going to say much about this, because it's pretty self-explanatory, right? Actually, I find J.K. Rowling more intimidating than inspiring. I literally cannot fathom the creative energy it took to write Harry Potter. She just wins. First place is taken, and now everyone else is competing for second.
The Hunger Games is still the most perfect book I've ever read. I didn't think it could be done, but congrats, Suzanne, you wrote the perfect book. I'm still trying to work out how she did it, to be honest. I think what I like best about THG, though, is Katniss. Katniss is the kind of heroine I want to read and write. Girls who can take care of themselves, who survive and fight and never give up. The one thing that I always come back to about the first book is how Collins put Katniss in this unfathomable situation, and made her do what she had to do, but never let her become a monster. She had to have exerted conscious effort to achieve that, and she did it flawlessly.
Franny Billingsley: Chime was beautiful. Even without the plot, the way Franny used words would have been enough to keep the reader interested. Ordinary writing seems stale by comparison. While I don't think I would want to write an entire book in that style (though I loved reading one), I do want to be more creative with my language. The onomatopoeia and the near-poetics of it makes the act of reading itself an adventure. Franny has flair, and that's all there is to it.
Laini Taylor: Daughter of Smoke and Bone was gorgeous in every sense of the word. Laini's writing is understated but magical, and her world-building is vibrant and rich and complex, but also unobtrusive. I was left just sitting there in awe when I finished Smoke and Bone. The kind of imagination that would take... I would love to write something so vast and epic. I don't know if I even could, but it's certainly something to aspire toward.
The Iron Fey and The Hunger Games and Harry Potter where there's a clear narrative thrust, and there's nothing unnecessary to drag down the plot and the pacing. It's just so neat and clever and tight. Right now I feel like my NaNo is a sprawling mess of tangled roots and winding paths, but my ultimate goal is to have it be as streamlined as so many of my favorite reads.
What about you? Whose writing inspires you to learn and grow and be better?
Finally, here are the last tips of NaNoWriMo:
- I recommend perusing Maggie's entire blog (not least of all because she's hilarious), but here are a few of my favorite writing posts: Dissecting Pages for Mood, on how she messes with my emotions so effectively; and How to Turn a Novel into a Textbook, on learning from your favorites. I also just discovered a handy list of ALL her writing tip posts, which I will now be devouring for the rest of the afternoon.
- As usual, Maureen Johnson is also doling out some sage advice on Making Writing Fun Again -- as I'm sure we're all feeling a little burnt out at this point.
And for a bit of inspiration, Maggie also did a great post on Writing the Book I Always Meant To, featuring this tidbit:
Write the book you've always wanted to read, but can't find on the shelf.
I've heard this somewhere before, but I've never been quite sure what that book would be for me. Perhaps, as Laini Taylor suggested, I should make a list of the things I like. I know my NaNo features some of them -- things like fierce heroines and quests through fantasy worlds -- but I still have this lofty, hazy image of my ideal read in my mind that I have no idea how to nail down to reality. The knowledge that you can make whatever you want happen in your novel is sometimes surprising and overwhelming to me. There are so many things I would love to read -- the challenge is figuring out how to make a coherent narrative out of them.
Are you writing the book you've always wanted to read this month?
So, congratulations on making it this far, whether you're ahead or behind -- the important thing is that you're writing. If you're like me, NaNoWriMo has been the kick you needed to finally stop plotting and start writing -- and the first step is always the hardest, so pat yourself on the back for taking that scary plunge. This has been a ton of fun, and I think from here on out it's going to be so much easier to keep myself motivated.
As you strive toward that finish line, just remember:
Congratulations, everyone! *throws confetti*