#IWSG: The NaNoWriMo Curse

a woman with eyeglasses writing on white paper under a light

Good morning! It’s the first Wednesday of the month, which means it’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day! let’s get into today’s question, shall we?


November 2 question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?


Ugh!

NaNoWriMo has been the bane of my existence for nearly a decade now. Why? Because I keep trying…and failing miserably. And even as the mere thought of participating in NaNoWriMo this year triggers violent regurgitations from the pit of my insecure writer’s stomach, the deranged masochist writer in me dares me to take the plunge once again.

However, I’m not sure if what I’ll write—or what I’ll attempt to write—will actually be a novel.

You see, I have this idea. I’ve had it for months, actually, but it’s become more prominent in my mind since I published my posts about how Universal Pictures can revive their Dark Universe film franchise (read Part 1 and Part 2). In those posts, I describe my dream movies for the cinematic universe, including Dracula: Son of the Devil (which I’m considering writing for NaNoWriMo), a Wolfman reboot with a Native American spin (but not the wendigo because that’s been overdone in pop culture), and two mega monster showdowns featuring Frankenstein’s monster vs the Mummy and the Mummy vs Dracula.

It started out as a fun series of blog posts to express my love for Universal’s classic monster movies and to explore how they could be brought back to the big screen—preferably minus the MCU’s influence in scriptwriting—and not bomb catastrophically at the box office. This quickly turned into a desire to write the actual scripts. If you’ve read the posts, you’ve seen that I outlined the entire plot for at least half of these movies. At this point, if Universal wants them, they’re going to have to pay me. Shoot, I’ll be your Kevin Feige!

The only thing is I’ve never actually written a script before, unless you count skits for group projects in school. I almost enrolled in an online screenwriting course several years ago, but it was a bit too pricey for my budget at the time, and today I have even less money thanks to inflation, so it’s still not in the budget.

I should also remind myself that I’ve never written a novel either…yet. Whichever route I take, it’ll be a first for me. That’s if I complete the story.

Recently—and I don’t know how “legal” this is, so I won’t post a link—I found a script to Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy online. It’s been quite the educational experience reading through it. The Mummy is one of the few movies (along with The Matrix, The Lion King, Aladdin, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame—what can I say? I was a 90s Disney baby) that I’ve watch a million times. Well, maybe not a million, but definitely over 100! Reading the script, I can tell it’s an earlier draft, as after 20 years, I know the movie lines by heart, and some parts in this script are different. For example, the narrator in the opening sequence is Imhotep rather than Ardeth Bay.

Of course, in the original 1932 film, Imhotep and Ardeth Bay are the same person, but I digress…

Being able to read the real script for a movie I love, a movie that will be the jumping-off point for my imagined Dark Universe, helps me to feel less intimidated by the thought of writing the scripts for the movies I want to see.

I read a post—this was months ago, so I don’t remember who the blogger was—that talked about how screenwriting is much easier than novel writing, almost to a laughable degree. I guess that’s true, as with screenwriting, you’re not so much focused on the literary art of it. That’s not to say that there aren’t bad scripts out there, because there are (for example, have you seen Dogface: A Trap House Horror?).

But my struggle with NaNoWriMo has always been the 50,000 words part. I’ve proven countless times on this blog that I can write a “book” in a month. It may not necessarily be novel length, but at least I finished it. So why is NaNoWriMo so much harder?

Is it because I’m trying to write it as a perfected final manuscript of the next great American novel rather than a rough first draft that will be full of mistakes? Is it because there will inevitably be a day when I cannot write 1700 words and I’m so disappointed in myself at falling behind that my inspiration dries up, I fall even further behind, and then I eventually give up? Is it because I’m not adjusting my normal schedule to account for all the writing that I’m about to undertake in short span of time?

Could it be all of the above?

Yes.

So what is my decision regarding NaNoWriMo participation this year? Other than those two posts and my “cheat sheet” in the form of The Mummy script, I’m not all that prepared. Definitely not mentally—I just got out of a two-year writer’s block. Then again, I was fully equipped for success the last few times I attempted the challenge, and I still failed, so I have nothing to lose, except maybe the confidence that I can ever win this thing, but when you think about it, that confidence was long gone, but maybe I can get it back.

What are your plans for NaNoWriMo? Will you be joining the mania this year?

If I do decide to join, I may post excerpts on this blog to keep myself accountable, though I’m not sure if I want to officially sign up given that my project isn’t necessarily a novel…and also because of my fear of failure.

logo: cartoon of girl with glass and her hair tied in a bun reading a book

We’ll see what happens!

—Nortina

4 thoughts on “#IWSG: The NaNoWriMo Curse

  1. Hi! I absolutely LOVE The Mummy, so I was really excited to read about that being mentioned in your blog. If someone asks me what my favorite movie is, that’s my answer. Hands down.

    As far as NaNoWriMo, this will be my 13th year participating. I’m also an ML for a region, so I get to help cheer people on towards their goals! I would say, less important than the 50k, is the daily writing habit. It’s great to win, but it’s also great to make any progress. I hope you give it a go. What most motivating for me is writing with others and doing word sprints. It helps me reach my goals more than anything else, honestly.

    If you want a NaNo buddy, feel free to add me on the website: nanowrimo.org/participants/morada-granada

    Enjoyed reading your ISWG post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the encouragement! I really needed that. I think I let the daunting task of writing 50,000 words in a month get in my head and overwhelm me, but you’re right, making progress and building a habit is equally important!

      Like

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