Not A Finisher

I have a confession to make. My confession is: I don’t know how to finish novels and stories.

I have ideas galore, inspiration in abundance, and the drive to start. I can get pretty far into a project, and then… and then… I stop. I lose track of what I am working on. I lose the motivation to figure out the rest of the story, as a new idea beckons me, teases me with its newness and how easy it is to start something. I fall in love with new characters and stories with ease, and then I struggle, I place the older ideas on the back burner, always with the promise of returning to it. Yet, I rarely return to it, or if I do, I start over. Ignoring a lot of what I wrote before except for the world-building. Then those ideas stagnant and instead of pushing through, instead of trying to figure out an actual damn plot and not just a series of scenes that supposedly connect, I move on.

Even with my prompts, I don’t necessarily have an ending to them. There is always the chance that the story can continue. I don’t feel as much of a need to wrap it up in as neat of a bow as, say, a novel. I know novels do not need endings. There can always be the option of continuing the story. But prompts work for me because I keep them relatively short. I write a snapshot of characters who crawl into my mind. Characters who want some part of their stories told, but aren’t too fussy if at most it is 2,000 words.

Despite being a consumer of stories, I suspect I don’t really know how to tell one. That there is some disconnect in my brain. I understand the steps. I understand what readers look for. I understand what I like as a reader, and the stories that hold me captivated, and yet putting that understanding into practice, I flounder.

Maybe I am not supposed to be a novelist. Maybe I should just stick to the fun I have in writing prompts, in writing those snippets of stories that rattle in my heart and mind. Get my need for validation by posting them here on the blog and leaving it at that. I love to write. Publishing a novel, of having my name on a physical book, sounds amazing — but maybe, maybe I’m just not that person. Maybe I need to play to my strengths, which are half-baked ideas and snapshots. Maybe it is time to ignore the voice that whispers to me that not having anything truly published is a sign of failure.

Why does being published and making money off of my writing seem like a sign of success? Why do I feel the need to monetize something that I love? Would the act of making money off of it suddenly mean I am good at it? But isn’t it all subjective?

I don’t have answers to any of these questions… at least, not for myself. I know though; I want to prove myself wrong. I want to take an idea and see it through. I want to figure out the ending, and the middle bits. I want to figure out how to tell a story that is cohesive. I want to finish something that I have started instead of letting it languish and die.

So, this year, like every other year for who knows how long, I aim to finish a story that I started. I’m not going to call it a novel. I don’t know how long it will be. Maybe only 5,000 words. Maybe 100,000 words. No worries of polishing it up this year. No worries about making it perfect. Just a story that has something of a clear beginning, a middle, and an end. Something that makes some sense.

And I won’t worry about those other questions. I’ll continue to write for the love of it and the need of it. And hopefully, finish a damn story.

If you stuck around for this entire ramble, I thank you. How do you finish stories?

NaNoWriMo 2020

i am doing me some NaNoWriMo this year. i attempt the challenge every year, and have only won twice in my life. the first year that i won was in 2011, the year after i graduated from college. i didn’t have papers to write or books that i had to read, i was missing having deadlines like crazy, and i didn’t yet have a job or kids. there wasn’t much going on for me at the time, and i breezed through it. i had like two 10k days. it was fun, it was exhilarating. i have just lied to you all unintentionally. having checked the NaNo website, it appears i have won the thing three times. my bad. the second time i won was in 2017 and the third time was in 2019. somehow, i forgot i won just last year. in my defense, though, we all know that 2020 has actually already been 100 years long. 

in between those victories i have tried nano and failed it. i have tried camp nanos and failed those too. some projects i stop after only 1,000 words, some projects have nearly 10k or more. and an awful lot are at 0. i feel like most years i start off heavily motivated, that i will complete this goal, and then i fall behind. not just one day behind, but two or three, and it feels like once those days keep stacking up, it gets harder and harder to motivate myself back into the game.

i am also realizing that perhaps my method of pantsing it, with very little to NO plotting, could be a problem. and so this year, i am embarking on a journey of self-discovery, of learning how to plot and plan for myself. and i am having fun with it.

did you know that plotting— outlining even! — can take some off the edge, that “I MUST START THIS NEW PROJECT IDEA NOW OR WITHER INTO NOTHINGNESS” feeling sparked by a new idea? that sometimes is the problem with NaNo when i think too early about a project. i am hoping that i keep the passion, the excitement alive, with my foray into this outlining and plotting game.

so, starting this month and all through october, i will share my baby steps into plotting. i will share snippets of my outline. bits about the characters i will be writing about, and bits of the story i have in my head. 

i will also continue to work on the prompts i have been given for this month and ask for more prompts when i finish those. pausing prompts in november to just focus on the writing of my novel which is currently called: Motherhood & Magic

are you planning on doing NaNoWriMo this year? are you a plotter or a pantser? do you have any advice for a pantser who is attempting their first plotted novel?

an introduction of sorts. and oh, lowercase.

hi.

this is my first blog post. sure, i have tossed up my prompt responses that i wrote in August, but. this is my first, actually-intended-for-the-blog-post, and with that, comes a certain amount of responsibility. or something. of introducing myself, and i suppose, my blog. explaining, perhaps, what you will find here or what my goals and intentions for this space on the internet are. 

so, i guess, a bit about myself first.

you can call me lyne. i like writing in all lowercase, and i know that could be frustrating to some. but there is something pleasant to me about it. it feels more like a conversation, even if i am just talking at you at the moment. lowercase also feels more like me. i am quiet. i mumble. i am one of those people that you need to ask to repeat themselves, because i mumble/whisper/talk-to-fast. so, sorry about that. on personal entries, you are going to see the lowercase. when i share my writing, i promise to do my best to follow grammatical rules. 

ahem.

so, back to me. i am in my thirties, i have two kids under the age of five, and two cats over the age of five. i have a husband and when you walk into our house it looks as if it is owned by teenagers considering how we have decorated it. why hide all of our fandom paraphernalia in rooms no one goes into? exactly. i am unemployed as of covid and trying my hand at homeschooling the oldest kiddo. i have decided to try to make writing more of a job-thing for me. something to focus on, and hopefully, make a dent in. 

the purpose of this blog will be to chronicle my writing (mis)adventures and to share some writing. i really enjoyed taking prompts on my facebook in August, and i plan on taking prompts from friends and family every month. i plan on sharing scenes from stories i am writing as well as what i am thinking about writing, the struggles of finagling a plot, and how i am trying to figure out a decent way to plot that i like (hey, i am a pantster! but i think plotting might do me good). there will be yelling into the void, frustration galore, hope too. personal posts, perhaps. we will see.

my favorite and most productive time to write is in the early mornings, starting anywhere from 5am to 6, but usually, smack in the middle at 5:30am. it is pleasant, the quiet of the house after i feed my cats. i write until my kids wake up. or i think about my writing then. it has taken me until about now to finally admit that: i am a morning person. bizarre. 

anyway, as you can see, i have some plans for this place. and i hope some of y’all will enjoy it. thanks for reading and i hope you come on back.