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andphi's Journal: Novelpost: Embarrassing mountains of verbiage 4

Journal by andphi

I have typed the first 40 or so pages of the manuscript. They're compressing to typescript at a rate of 2 to 1. Twenty typed pages of too many adverbs and too much blow-by-blow of the protagonist's thought processes. Blow-by-blow combat is bad enough, so I try not to tell the reader every little move the characters make in combat. Blow-by-blow thinking? How did I think that was good? I'm going to have to edit the some parts of the first few chapters with a chainsaw to make them readable. I'm just glad I'm into the part where the protagonist interacts with a regular cast of other people. Hopefully

It's official, if it wasn't before: No More NaNoWriMo for me. I can't convince myself it's a good way for me to write good books. It might work if I was a full-time author with a developed writing process. With the unguided, and often under-documented, approach I took, it's a bad idea. I understand the need to let a story tell itself, but that very need will tend to introduce continuity problems if details of the story already told don't stick with the author well enough. If I had begun writing this same story with different initial goals and preoccupations (50k in 30 days and How much do I have to write today to get there?) it might have turned out less self-contradictory and more concise.

The consolation here is that I knew this was a first draft. I understood it could be bad. I just hoped, I suppose, that it wouldn't be quite so bad as it now seems. Still, I'm typing it out more or less as I first wrote it, with notes to myself in the original manuscript.

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Novelpost: Embarrassing mountains of verbiage

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  • I'm from the school of thought that it's better to write than not to write, even if you know it's dreadful. Don't ever not write something because you think it sucks. You can always edit, redact, and rebuild later. That blow-by-blow thought process can be used to motivate your character, and as you start to show rather than tell, you start to delete the extraneous matter. That gruesomely detailed thinking can act as scaffolding for the real narrative.

    And even if you decide in the end it ALL sucks, keep

    • by andphi (899406)

      Thanks for the encouragement. I don't know what I was thinking, except perhaps "Put words on paper" and "show how the character defeats a given obstacle". I'm sure some of it will stay, unless I really do take a chainsaw to the first fifty pages and write a new beginning from scratch.

      Part of the problem is that I changed my view on diction mid-stream. In the early sections, the narrator uses too many words with Latin roots. He's from a vaguely Anglo-Saxon tribe, so his language should be Germanic, not Roman

      • Tolkien did it, and he was a scholarly philologist, and if you study the languages he made, although they're amazing they're also pretty simplistic compared to real living languages. It's a tall order for anyone to do.
        • by andphi (899406)

          I agree. Inventing new languages is tricky. I keep trying it, though. I've created fragmentary vocabularies for the Dwarves, the Elves, and certain tribes of Humans and Half-Elves. I've never gotten as far as grammar and verb conjugation, though. I just want to make sure the races speak the Common languages in distinctive fashions, to reflect the ways their minds work.

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