The Abyss of NaNo

My lack of ability to decide on plot points is killing my NaNo writing. I’m pretty settled on and happy with my main character. I think about her a lot. It’s easy to do. She’s kind of the girl I wanted to be back a few years ago. I know where I want her to start in the story and where I want her to ultimately end up, but I have no idea how to get her from Point A to Point Q. I have a few ideas about key interactions I want her to have or places I want her to go. For example, I want her to have a quest story. She needs to go somewhere to do something or find something or find someone or leave something or . . . crap . . . see? I don’t know. I know where I want her to go, because I have this imagine in my head of this scifi universe I want to create. I have some pretty clear images in my head of places to take her. But What. The. Fuck. Is she going to do there?

I don’t know.

And I’m getting really frustrated. As is my usual train of thought I start going down the “Well you must be making a mistake” path. Oh, gee, having a hard time? Well clearly you aren’t cut out for this creative writing thing. Better just stop. I’ve kind of conquered that thought though. A bit. Last night I was really hurting to get myself writing, but I did. However I spent half my writing time with my head in my heads going “Ugh that was so stupid this paragraph is boring what am I doing where is this going AAAHHH!!” So that was productive. I patted myself on the back for even writing anything at least. I now have successfully written about half a dozen different openings to the story. And I’m not talking even in-depth openings either. These are bare bones 1,667 word openings that go nowhere. Here is typically what happens:

1) I come up with something I think is an awesome opening line. I write it. WEE! Here I am! I’m writing!
2) Okay the second sentence needs to be just as awesome and make me feel just as warm and fuzzy as the first.
3) Time passes.
4) Okay I need more than just one sentence to keep this ball rolling. Just start writing and we can edit later and I’m sure once I’m on a roll the magical lines of perfection will just ooozzzeeeeee out of me.
5) I write. I actually write for a while! Lets say I write for 42 minutes.
6) I stop. I start re-reading what I just wrote. Oh god . . . that last paragraph was utter garbage. Like, seriously, what the fuck?
7) Okay, I can get this back on track if I just edit it. I may lose some words for the war of the word counts but they’ll be honored later with other better words so it’ll be fine. I start editing.
8) I stop. This crap can’t be edited. It’s boring descriptions of boring things that just need to get cut. But I’m writing this for NaNo! I just need WORDS right?! I can’t cut things right now.
9) I realize I need a drink.
10) I realize it’s gotten too late at night for a drink and I should just go to bed.
11) I toss and turn in bed all night thinking about what drivel I wrote and thinking about how I can get it back on track.
12) I get up in the morning and decide I should just ignore last nights pile of poo on the page and start over.
13) I start over at #1.

Quality. I’m sure this is what Stephen King does too, right?! Oh Mr. King – evoked as a pillar of authordom – do you, good sir, write pages of drivel, hate them, try to edit them, decide they suck, throw them out, and start all over the next day?! Oh wait you don’t? Cool.

Being new to this whole idea of making an effort to write something good (because lets face it, in any situation growing up where I had to write something for school, I half-assed it as fast as possible with no real editing and I turned it in and forgot what grade I got on it promptly after getting my grade) I’m at a loss to know whether or not this is just “part of the process”. Will something finally stick? If I just keep re-doing the opening again and again and again will I eventually tumble on one that I love so much it pushes me into the next part and the next? Do I just make my main character walk around town until I stop describing the color of the stones she is walking on and the smell of the breeze coming out of the sewer and have her actually be involved in something and have feelings?

I am floating in the abyss of uncertainty . . . I hope there is chocolate in here somewhere.


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