Two things on my mind this morning: pantsing and slush.
First, the pantsing. You all know I'm a Pantser in Recovery. As in, over the last few years, I have learned the beauty of planning. Not obsessive outlining; not anything that remotely looks like a synopsis. But I will definitely never attempt to draft a story without a Beat Sheet again.
So it's NaNo month, and I'm occasionally asked, "Are you doing NaNo?" And my response is always a vehement NO! (Don't worry; there's a thread here.) I'm a slow drafter and a careful thinker, and it would absolutely kill me to write a flood of words knowing in my gut that I'd be throwing sixty percent of them away later.
(Not everyone who does NaNo throws away sixty percent later. But I definitely would.)
I had a knee-jerk, anti-NaNo moment a few days ago when Beth Revis tweeted that she was doing NaNo. She picked up on my incredulity and threw me a "Why do you hate NaNo??" email. (Poor Beth.) I don't hate NaNo. I just don't see any value in it for me, personally. Honestly, I have plenty to do. Plenty. The last thing I need is a new story that will be in horrible shape on December 1.
In the course of my conversation with Beth, I had one of my "a-hah!" moments. And here it is: People who find joy in the art of drafting are likely the same ones who get a thrill out of NaNo. They're the ones who take that 30-day wonder and craft it into something that really works. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW PANTSERS WRITE.
Nobody can argue that Beth is a successful author. I love her writing! And this is how she works--bonafide, no-holds-barred pantsing. She gets the job done by spilling the story from her gut and then going back and fixing and re-fixing until it shines.
It's certainly possible to carefully plan a novel in the weeks before NaNo, and then sit down and write something that isn't broken in twelve places. But that brings us back to the "I'm a slow writer" part. I can't seem to turn off my internal editor long enough to free-flow. And I'm perfectly happy this way.
(And it's no secret that I hate drafting. HATE.)
So, really. If NaNo gets your juices flowing and gives you a worthy project, then go for it. As for me, I am perfectly happy not doing NaNo. It doesn't tempt me.
Chocolate, however, does tempt me. Which brings me to the Slush.
I'm blown away by the 286 that came through for the YA/MG category of our Baker's Dozen this week. I expected around 200 max. So, yeah, I'll be spending extra time with Jodi Meadows over the next couple of weeks. That's okay with us, since we, yanno, spend a lot of virtual time together, anything.
Slushing, of course, is intense. We Skype as we read, discussing each entry real-time. Jodi is the Mistress of Spreadsheets, and she keeps track of all our yeses, maybes, and nos as we go. (I'm so grateful for this; truly, I am spreadsheet-challenged.) She also keeps track of things like tense, whether the protagonist is male or female, and interesting trends (last year, for instance, there was an inordinate number of novels that opened with sex). I will have statistics for you soon.
At any rate, I needed a psychological boost last night as we jumped into the largest YA/MG slushpile to date. So I bought myself two of these:
This divine creation is a chocolate cheesecake bite from Whole Foods--creamy vanilla cheesecake enrobed by luscious chocolate.
Oh, yes. I can face ANY amount of slush with a cheesecake bite in my mouth. That, and a glass of Toasted Head Chardonnay.
It was lovely.
So we're pressing through, hopeful that we'll produce a strong list of entries for our auction. A reminder to those of you who entered the adult category: I will be sending emails to the 25 winners on Monday (the 12th). If you do not receive an email from me, your entry was not chosen. Please make sure you've got facelesswords(at)gmail(dot)com in your address book, to avoid hungry spam folders.
Happy weekend, everyone!