Swoop, Bang and Grope

I’m on the road again. The road to hell, good intentions to blog my NaNoWriMo novel-writing experiment are lying like dead soldiers on the roadway.

Early on I was going to post about Banging vs. Swooping. Kurt Vonnegut once said (and I swear I heard this on a public radio interview, though I can’t find the source) that some writers are “swoopers,” they simply open the tap and let the words flow across the page. Mark Twain was like this. Said his head was like the water tower at a train depot and he would write until he was empty.

Other writers, like Vonnegut, are “bangers.” They sweat and toil over every word.

Naturally NaNoWriMo, writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, lends itself to swooping. Turn off your internal editor and spit out 1,675 words daily and you’ll be just fine.

Now I’m a banger. But for this project I’ve manager to churn out 32,000 words by sheer force. Some of it pretty crappy, like the day when I forced my main character to paraphrase the Spark Notes for Ivanhoe.

At this point I’ve lost my way. I’ve got no clue about my character’s motivation and the whole manuscript has devolved into “he did this, and then he did this, and then he did this…” like a story told by a six year old.

So that’s how it is my friends. Nine days left. 18,000 words to go and I’m like the guy in Run Fatboy Run, bruised battered and spent. Groping for a reason to go on.