January 6th, 2007

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

's a cool idea...

...this novel_in_ninety community (sorry, can't figure out how to do it in this nice pretty way that makes it a linky thingy) that matociquala has started up - and, as at least two or three other people have said already on LJ somewhere, "all the cool kids are doing it".

I think it's a neat idea, especially for the folks who haven't yet learned to recognise the familiar sound of deadlines whooshing past and the necessity to knuckle under and produce something of a given size and shape and *quality* within a given interval of time. I think it's a massively better idea than NaNoWriMo, which is a licence to sack your inner editor completely and write what might be absolute junk for a period of one month, at the end of which, if you've given yourself a bleeding ulcer and can show that you have put 50 000 words of ANY description on screen/paper, you get to prove... I don't know... that you can write 50 000 words of (probably) crapalicious prose in the space of 30 days.

Hey, whatever works. Some people might NEED that kick in the pants (and take the ulcer as collateral damage). But personally, I prefer to spend the time that the story needs for it to be told, and produce something GOOD at the end of a SANE deadline. I don't think that a piece of literature has ever been defined by the time it took to create it; it's like that famous recipe for rabbit stew which begins with, "First, catch your rabbit..." It's the same with the story, I think. First, you have to have the story. And if you have the story, then it will be told somwehow. They have their own gestation periods, stories do, and they are born when they are born, and if they are born prematurely they often suffer many of the same problems that premie babies are prone to. They cannot breathe on their own. Their organs are too tiny and not developed enough to perform their functions adequately. They wind up on life support - and only if they are very lucky and their doctors are VERY good do they survive to tell themselves properly.

I might LOVE to have the next novel done by April - but if it happens that way it will be serendipity. I have the story, I have my rabbit, and my stew pot is already on my stove - but I already have a deadline, September, and if I preempt it MASSIVELY that will be pretty cool but if I don't that's okay too - I'll have it by September. And it'll be good and ready.

A J Liebling once said, "I can write better than anyone who can write faster, and I can write faster than anyone who can write better." It's a pretty saying, but there's a germ of truth in it somewhere - quantity and quality are not equal and equivalent things. So, while I wish the novel-in-ninety folks all the best in their endeavour and I even feel certain, given the caliber of some of the names I see on the community list, that there will be quantity AND quality achieved... I think I'll sit this dance out. I am not going to keep adding outside deadlines to the internal ones which the story already has. Perhaps I'll never write fast enough to produce two or three novels a year - but so long as I keep writing steadily, the river of words will keep flowing, perhaps without the rush of the rapids and the adrenaline of white water but hey, I'm the still waters that run deep, and I'm not discontented to be that kind of river.

I've kind of started Book 3 of Worldweavers, by writing a fragment of story which doesn't actually happen until well into the tale - but that's the scene which I needed to get down RIGHT NOW. It might not be as linear a book as some of my recent ones have been, and that's fine too - every book is different. But I can feel it taking shape inside my mind, one or two characters stepping up and settling in, occasional spotlights bright on this or that aspect of an idea which connects with something else out there in the dark in a way that I'm not yet certain of. But I will be. I will be.

I'll be posting wordcount updates here occasionally, as I did with #2 - but when I get into my stride the aim from MY side of the screen would be closer to 2000 - 3000 thousand words a day, on average, rather than 750.

Good luck, folks - I'll be rooting for you. But while you're all saddling your hares, I'll be over here with my tortoise, plodding away at my own pace...