December 3, 2009

NaNoWriMian's bad habits

Yup, I failed the NaNoWriMo AGAIN this year... Let's just say that quitting my job took more out of me than I thought, and that procrastination isn't just the French title of a Terry Pratchett's book. Still, between my meta-essay and the text itself, I wrote more than 15k words, which is a record. I'm still not giving up and will continue to write that novel. And search another idea for next year.

While on one of my blog-reading sprees, I encountered this today. And... Wished I had found it sooner.
It did hit some points home.

Let's see how...

Point 1:
I hate so called classics... If you want me NOT to read a book, tell me it's a classic that I must read for my personal culture. Which is ironic, because if someone hasn't read a book, or seen a movie I consider a classic, I’ll tell them that.
Not very bright, eh?
Still, I'm pretty sure I did use some old vernacular in my text. Because I thought I needed them...

Point 2:
The fudging writer's block... I encountered it quite a few times during my write-through, until I finally told myself to just write and see what would happen. Too bad, Time was up when I finally reached that point.
I just hope I can remember for the next time that "A text does not have to be perfect the first time and can always be revised".
After all, I have done it for some of my posts...
In my opinion, writing at least your ideas enables you to not misplace them. Then the hours you would have spent hours trying to rewind the Ariane's thread of your thoughts to the right point (while escaping the Minotaur of Just-screw-it) can be spent on polishing these ideas ores into a beautiful thing.
I didn't say I always did it, I just say it's a good thing.

Point 3:
The long paragraphs... I once wrote an essay for school that contained only three phrases, and was more than a page long. Gotta love semi-colons. Let's just say the teacher's reaction cured me of this, even if I'm aware I can become a little long winded. So, that's not something I learned in school...
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that you need to air your text. A wall of text is just impossible to digest except for some rare people. Think of a paragraph as what you might say between two breaths. I... think that's where the term "long-winded" I used might be coming from, in fact.

Point 4:
I admit I'm torn. I don't think it's necessary, nor do I think it should be banned. I think it's a matter of style, and character. If it fits what you're writing, then go on. If beating around the bush without saying anything directly is more of your style, I'm still with you.
I once was on a forum where it had been decided that profanity should be replaced with flower names. So you might encounter a "*tulip*ing *petunias* of the *rose*". Made for some flowery speeches, believe me. And still, it WAS relieving.
Your style is your style. That's what matters. You don't write for others, you write for you. How do you say it...? What's bred in the bone comes out in the blood?

Point 5:
I don't quote sources. Or if I do, it's that I'm writing an essay.
Going on a tangent here: I use brands in my texts. I use known authors, I use movie titles, to hammer down the fact that people are in a/the real world. But, I'm not convinced it really helps, considering that it's not something I often encounter in other works. What do you think? What makes you think a world is more than paper-thin?

Point 6:
That's hard... I'm an engineer by training, doubled as a marketer. I'm overtrained to analyse coldly, and to be detached. As such, I have never lost control of a character I was writing, as happens sometimes to other writers. I'd love to suddenly feel that these guys have a life of their own, and I'm just telling what's happening, or, perhaps, arguing with them. Still, I think they have their personalities that build over time, and some can be quite passionate.
I think I'll need to work on that.

Point 7:
This is true. And this is something that is true whenever something is created: writing, drawing, game design... Constructive criticism must be taken well, and taken into account, but in the end, you can't listen to everyone's ideas and advices. Why? Firstly, because it won't be your baby anymore, and if it's not yours, it's harder to like it (that... sounded a lot less against adoption in my mind). Secondly, because you can't please everyone and some advice will be contradictory.

I'll say it again: write (create) for you. Especially if you don't live from it. If you live from it, then it becomes a matter of personal belief... I personally think that if catering from time to time to the unwashed masses enables you to write what you want the rest of the time is ok. No one gets hurt, everyone's happy, what do you think?