Thursday, November 10, 2011
Failing NaNo, Saving Cats
I have a confession to make. It's ten days into NaNoWriMo and I haven't advanced a single word on my new manuscript. I have excuses, of course -- Sierra Godfrey and I are launching a new website design/build business and getting the final site layout and content has taken a lot of time. **SHAMELESS PLUG -- We offer affordable WordPress-based services for authors who want to move off of Blogger or social media and want to move on to their own custom-designed site. And yes, I am totally aware of the irony of this as I post on a Blogger blog.** I've also been swamped with client work, so while my cumulative word count is probably NaNo worthy, it hasn't been applied to fiction.
Thus, EPIC FAIL for NaNo.
However, Sierra did tell me with unbridled enthusiasm about a book that would CHANGE MY LIFE FOREVER. I scoffed at the notion, but I did as she insisted and picked up Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. Apparently, a lot of you have to, and why the hell didn't you tell me before?
If you've made it this far into the whole trying-to-publish realm, chances are you've got your writing chops and it's your storytelling chops that are continuously being refined. Though technically a screenwriting book, Save The Cat can be applied to fiction or narrative non-fiction. Yes, it did change my life. It, as Darth Sidious would say, gave me focus and made my writing stronger.
Since I got the book, I have been applying its lessons to A Question Of Lust by sharpening the focus and restructuring the narrative. I've also decided to shift my 1/1A protaganists, so I have to rebuild the second half of the story. It is a pain in the ass to be sure, but it's probably just as valuable as putting down 10,000 words on an unstructured new manuscript.
Speaking of which, that gets put on the backburner for at least a few weeks, but the Save The Cat tools have at least put me in the direction where I know I can streamline my usual outlining process into something that fits the appropriate storytelling structure.
The second-best part about Save the Cat is when I have it on the couch next to me and my cat Akasha curls up between my butt and the book while I'm typing. She doesn't get irony even though I tried to explain it to her the other night. She does, however, love watching hockey with her dad as seen below.
Seriously, she sits on her little perch and watches games with me. It could be because the white ice and players/puck look like little critters for her to track, but I really think it's because she's subtleties of the game, like a strong down-low cycle.