Thursday, November 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update #2

I've given up going to the NaNoWriMo site to update my word count. Every time I go, I have to reset my password because, for some reason, it doesn't remember my password, so I'm just going to go on my own and forget the "support" of the site, which seems to consist of a bunch of pep talk emails and forums where writers in my area can piss and moan and share achievements. Sorry, guys, I'm too busy writing.

Anyway I hit 20,000 words this week, which is nice, but I discovered something. While I enjoy reading and watching action-packed spy stories and action shows, I don't necessarily like writing them. My crime fiction may have bursts of shoot-em-up action here and there, but not consistently, and this new novel requires consistent shoot-em-up action. Luckily I'm midway through the book where intrigue replaces gun play and I'm looking forward to spending more time with the characters interacting instead of blasting. Not that the action scenes aren't good but I like the character scenes in between much better.

I suppose saying the book "requires" shoot-em-up action is wrong, because I can always rewrite the damn thing, but I like the way it's going so I don't see a reason to alter it (plus, the action really does fit in with the plot; they're not a pointless exercise in blowing things up). But during the revisions, the action scenes will need more attention to make them better because right now, I feel like I'm rushing through them.

I'm also tired of the nomenclature of equipment and guns other action stories have a lot of. Does a reader really care if my hero is shooting a customized Colt Government Model .45 auto or if he carries an M-16A2 on an island assault (is the M-16A2 still being made???? See, I should know that). But I don't care. "Automatic rifle" is just as good, "pistol" is just as good. Saying a speed boat has a machine gun mounted on the bow is better than going into detail about it being a .50-caliber air-cooled Browning whats-it. I'll leave the technical details to Clancy (is he still alive?) and just tell the story. Heck, it worked for Robert Ludlum; of course, Ludlum also had characters screwing silencers onto revolvers, which makes no sense since you can't silence--or "suppress"-- a revolver, so maybe he's not the best role model in this case. Maybe it's better to say I'll emulate Jack Higgins in this matter, though his books, over the last fifteen years, have sucked royally. Former IRA man Sean Dillon working for British Intelligence? I don't believe it. Higgins never quite made Dillon's loyalty change work for me. (Sorry, Jack, love the pre-1990 books, really I do.)


  1. Glad to see you on the NaNoWriMo Train too, Brian. Only one other blogger I'm following is doing it, and I was feeling lonely. I don't care much about the official site either. The best motivation for me has been to post my daily XX,XXXX words to go at the top of my own blog and update it every night. I've been hovering right around the quota mark, afraid of burning out my eyeballs before I get close to the end.

  2. Hi, Evan. I'm not going to hit 50k by the end of the month; the book is going to be way too long. But if I can get done by Christmas and have three chapters ready for submission in January I'll be happy.