Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wrong Story

I thought, I really did, that my story was going to be about a young woman journeying west as a mail-order bride. Instead, I think my story is about the young woman. I think journeying west is only a chapter or so of the story. I'm writing pages of exposition that really are a story in their own right. Boo and hoo. What do I do? Keep writing expository style? Stop? Back up? Grrrr. Grrrrr. Grrr. Get the expository stuff out of my system?

Grrr. Grrr. Grrr.

I hate expository writing. Its boring. Well, my expository writing is boring. Its like a poorly written textbook that I'm having to wade through before I can get to the story. Grrr. Grrrrrrrrr. GRRRRRRRRRR.

I have a brownie upstairs on the kitchen counter. Brownie, you are mine.


Anonymous said...

Oh my god. I so feel you right now. Im 2469 words in so far. Total. Thats right, Im already behind. And whats happening? A lot of boring, bad, clunky prose. I want to edit it -so badly-. Or maybe just delete it and pretend it never happened...*coughs*

Alright, I have a physics midterm due at midnight. If I can get that done by 10 I'll still have 2 hours to pumps out another 1000 words before it's technically tomorrow.

CLB said...

A common piece of advice to writers is, "Cut your first chapter." It's a natural temptation to start out by laying down a lot of exposition, but it does tend to slow down the story hugely, and it serves the purpose of helping you, the writer, figure out the backstory for the tale you'll be telling, more than it really serves in telling an effective story to the readers. Once you know the background and personality of the character, you can convey it through her actual words and actions. The old "show, don't tell" advice also applies.

Of course, that's when you're writing something you want to sell and publish, where grabbing the reader's (and the editor's) attention right off is more important. For NaNoWriMo, if the goal is just to write 50K words in a month, editing isn't so important. Don't critique it, don't second-guess yourself, just let the story happen. If you want to make it more coherent, you can revise it once it's done. NaNo is about volume and perseverence.