Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ambiliterous Ambition

Well, I know I said in this post that I wouldn't be doing NaNoWriMo this year, but as I alluded to at the end of this post, there's an increasingly strong chance that I will be doing it, after all. I've got an idea and everything. I'll post about it tomorrow - and muse about its themes, and ask for advice - since it's a fairly Halloweeny sort of idea.

The question then, is, how am I going to keep Rat and Starling going during this month of writing dangerously? The fact is, I have very little experience with writing two things at the same time. Or, do I...

When I think about it, I have always written more than one thing at a time. I wrote my way through middle school, high school, and college. At the same time that I was developing a large body of unfinished fiction, I was successfully completing papers and writing assignments.

Maybe this will be easier than I thought.

What worked for me back in those days? Well, it probably helped that there was usually one project I really cared about (the fiction, of course - have I ever mentioned that I was a pretty lousy student?) and another I could take or leave, but that distinction isn't an option here. The other tactic I took was to draw distinctions between the time I spent on my fiction and the time I spent on my papers. Drawing distinctions between work time and play time was never my strength (I gave way to many of my study hours to PopCap Games and Kingdom of Loathing), but this should be easier, as I am equally passionate about both my projects.

I can't divide my hours, however. I'll be doing most of my writing on the train and in the evenings with the Abigail. What if I divide my days?

To be successful, a NaNoWriMo novel needs to grow by about 1,700 words a day. If I could write about 1,900 words a day, I could dedicate one day a week to Rat and Starling rather than Ghostly Tam Lin (<--- Look, it's a teaser! Also, another lame working title).

1,900 words is a lot, but I think I can do it. If it gets too tough, I can always drop either Rat and Starling or NaNoWriMo. Even if I do the former, every week I keep it up is one less week that Rat and Starling will languish, and NaNoWriMo is only four weeks long. I think I have a pattern I can live with.

NaNoWriMo here I come. Maybe.

* * *

  • What is your experience with ambidextrous writing? Have you had successes? Failures? Hilarious stories?
  • Am I completely insane?

* * *

Incidentally, I finally have working titles for the sections of Rat And Starling.

Part One will be called, simply, Rathscalla. After all, it's all from her point of view.

Part Two will be from Starling's point of view, and entitled (you guessed it) Starling.

Part Three, the exciting conclusion, will be called No Evil Star, which is both an epic and eye-catching title and also a joke.

You see, I'm a fan of palindromes. My personal favorite is 'rats live on no evil star,' which, backwards, is 'rats live on no evil star.' At the end of Part One, Rat starts calling herself Rathscalla, and it seems increasingly that she has forgotten her own better nature and thrown herself into her new, heartless persona. In Part Three, however, we discover that it's not true. Rat lives on... in No Evil Star.

I'm a terrible person.

All I need now is a title for the whole thing.


Abby said...

I still think the first part should be called "Rat". Because Rathscalla is who she is when she's dark and evil.

Who's going to narrate the third section?

Unknown said...

it's not like a telepath is going to suck the story out of your head, mark. Write the NaNoWire thingy, then when it's time to come back to Rat & Starling, read it from the top, as though reading it for the first time, and when you get to where you left off you will have the same energy as before!

Anonymous said...

I like that. "Rat" "Starling" "No Evil Star."

As I said, all I need now is a title.

. . .

Alex, as a writer, I'm actually really lousy at keeping energy up. That's why most of my stories die on the table. Keeping my energy and interest in a story is my single biggest challenge as an artist.