Sometimes, Words Suck

This NaNo has been off to a weird — but strong — start.

First off, our region had four write-ins in four days, two of them on the first. So we were hammering out the words there for a while. It’s probably the strongest I’ve ever started. (Because I’m telling you, people — community!)

But there were a handful of factors that slowed me down come Monday. Way back in April I signed up for a big bang challenge, and that was due on the fifth. I did almost nothing NaNo related on Monday — just one sprint — which means I had plenty of time to sit around and panic. This novel sucks. This isn’t what I envisioned. I’m never going to be able to write a coherent novel. There’s no plot in this. SOMEONE GET ME OUT OF HERE.

In addition to all this, I started rereading my NaNo novel from last year in my down time, like before I go to sleep or when it takes the child an hour to go to sleep. In the last 20 pages of the novel, in the middle of what is supposed to be a tense moment, I found a line that made all the panic better:

Maybe this novel is awful, Ashley, dear god — why are we supposed to even like this character? Moving on.

Ladies and gentlemen, not all NaNo words are good words. Sometimes, they’re just the words you need to keep going.

My first 10,000 words of this story are not good words, though most of them were necessary. There’s a lot of exposition. A lot of character exploration and setting exploration — things I needed before I could get into the meat of my story, which is supposed to be more of an action piece. (Full of UST, because this is who I am.) Most of those words are going to be thrown away come time to edit.

I’m writing this post Thursday night, before I’ve actually begun to work on my novel for the night. (The chatroom is sprinting RIGHT NOW and I’m like, “Hmm, no, I don’t think so.”) My word count is sitting at 15,802, and I have a plot now. While watching movies at my nemesis’ apartment Wednesday night, I finally figured out some of the trickier problems I was facing, and I actually got to writing the action of the novel.

Things started happening. It just took 10 or 13 thousand bad words to get there first.

Ashley M. Hill found her voice in science fiction when her curiosity about technology coupled with the lifelong urge to tell stories. Her interest in social and feminist issues shapes how she approaches the genre. She's pursuing computer and network repair for her day job.

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