Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Put Some Prose On It!

NaNoWriMo doesn't suit me. Large numbers of words are failing to fall like spangles from my cursor as I type.

Only a few mouse clicks over is YouTube, which is getting some slack-jawed attention, and of course I fall into the "research" trap of getting forty links deep into something and waking out of my reverie with a startlement. It turns out that hypertext is exactly like the kids' game of "Telephone". The first person whispers something meaningful to the next person, who passes on what they hear to the third person and so forth. By the time the sixth person shouts out loud what they have heard, it bears no resemblance to the phrase the first person coined. Similarly, if you "research" using hypertext you can be absolutely sure that the result of the initial Google (ptui!) search is on topic, but the link you click inside that first reference is only tangentially related, and the link you follow in that second document is something of overriding interest that is no relation whatsoever to your search. By the time you've found yourself compelled to read something via a link in the third document, you are simply cat vacuuming. On the upside, you become well read very quickly.

As for NaNoWriMo itself, I find that when I'm forced to write at a certain time without any inspiration, I tend to write something plodding:
I did this. Then I did that. Then I did another thing.
Even more often, I have to clean up the sentences for the school-kid English abuse that gets in when the Inner Editor is off having a coffee. (The first premise of NaNoWriMo is that Inner Ed gets sent out of the house while you're writing. This speeds things up but is not always conducive to writing well.) The sentences often start out like this:
I did this, actually. Really the other would have been better. Although I eventually finished the third thing. Though I couldn't do that at first really.
Once I subtract all the uses of "though", "although", "really", "but" and "actually" my daily word-count goes down by about fifty per cent.

The plodding prose isn't necessarily worthless. It needs zip, pizzazz and vigor. Until I buy a copy of Writer's Zip, Pizzazz and Vigor Master (Only $299.99 and comes with a FREE shareware program of a 1988 Frogger clone), I have to do it myself, by standing above the first draft text and manually shaking spangles on to it from a great height. It works quite well, but is annoying, like having to edit your secretary's work because she keeps using run on sentences in business letters or something. (I have to do that during the day and I don't want to become my own secretary AND my own editor, unless I get paid more.)

Larding the goose with the appropriate clever bits reminds me of Free. (Almost everything does.) The books on the band say that after the basic track was laid down, the band members would ask Kossoff to "put some guitar on it". He hated that, apparently thinking that there was more to playing guitar than being told to go in after everybody else and "put some on it". Then again, there's probably no quicker way to absolute ridicule than letting three male British teenagers know that you think of yourself as an artist, so maybe he should just have shut up.

And maybe I should too. For the record, I wrote this in one pass, didn't "put any spangles on it" and I haven't removed a single instance of "although", "though", "really", "but" or "actually". That only seems to happen during NaNoWriMo. Yes, I am going to add this to my daily word count even though it isn't part of the 'novel' I'm supposedly writing.


STB said...

That would be Frogger® since Frogger is a registered trademark of Konami (America) Inc.

Peromyscus said...

Frogger®, registered trademark of Konami (America) Inc., I am SOOOO freakin' sorry!11!!1!1!eleventy!!


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