This must be what going mad feels like.

I’ve always loved writing. I was that chubby nerdy kid in grade school who read all the books, and spent whatever time was left over writing tiny stories or pointless meandering epics. I’d like to say my habits have improved as I progressed through adolescence and into adulthood, but if my last few years drinking my way through NANOWRIMO are any indication, they have not. I can say that my process has become a bit more focused and that my results are improving; NANO2009 produced a massive and incoherent 180,000 word vampire story that is still too daunting to consider editing. NANO2010 yielded a concept I’m still thinking on and characters I love, but reads more like a tv script than a novel (e.g. I think I just wrote the new Sex and the City, where nothing happens but drinking and coitus).

For NANO2011, though, I had a whole new approach. I started with an idea and a couple of characters. I developed a detailed fantasy world. Then I wrote a plot framework and elaborated into a nice outline. Pretty textbook stuff, right? The end result was a 120,000 word gaslamp fantasy story, with a couple of possibilities for sequels. I was pretty proud of it, and by pretty proud I mean it sat on my hard drive doing absolutely nothing and being read by no one.

Luckily, I’ve got the sort of friends who take time out of their busy lives posting ERMAHGERD memes on each other’s Facebooks to occasionally link something useful, like Harper Voyager’s open call for unagented submissions, specifically in the speculative/fantasy genres. Suddenly it’s September, and I find myself unemployed with a month to tidy up and edit a novel I have never given any serious consideration toward doing anything with. It seemed like an impossible task until I’d had about four gin and tonics, and then it just seemed daunting. I got to work, determined to have something readable to submit by the October 14th deadline.

You’ll notice it’s October 14th.

I did make the deadline.

I did not have much time to spare.

I do not have a substance abuse problem.

I am proud of myself, thank you.

And I’ve got about two weeks to scratch some details together for my NANO2012 project!

But tonight, I’m going to eat some well-earned guacamole and watch Walking Dead. Between the stress and excitement (and more gin), I had nightmares last night!
Post Script: Dear friends, thanks for your help if you helped, and if I’ve been unbearable the last month (I’ve been unbearable) I’m sorry. ❤


15 thoughts on “This must be what going mad feels like.

  1. Trent Lewin says:

    Glad you got your novel planned. This one month writing thing is too ambitious for me. Anyway, madness is underrated anyhow, it is its own form of energy.


    • fissionerror says:

      The nice thing about NANO is it’s only (only!) 50,000 words. The BAD thing is that since it’s driven by word count it’s very easy to fall into the habit of word count padding, which makes editing even more monstrous.

      But you’re right about the madness.


      • Trent Lewin says:

        Still too many words/day, and I can’t write on stats. Anyway, best of luck, I will coordinate my ambitions with less heady stuff. But much respect for those who give it a shot!


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