The NaNo Diaries: I Can’t Write… Blank

In the first installment of this series, I mentioned that this book looks vaguely like something that my nemesis created to destroy me, not something I thought would be genuinely fun to write.

As I began writing, the list of things I can’t write grew steadily longer.

Basically I can’t write. Anything.

Can we please just leave it at that?

No? Okay, fine. You demanding humans, you.

1. Action scenes

Image result for let it begin bolt gif


I cannot write action scenes to save my life. Or, in this case, to save my character’s lives.

People keep asking me why all my characters are dead. Now you know.

But let’s be serious. Being vague feels like an easy way out, so I want to be detailed. I want you to be able to see it all in your head.

The problem, of course, is that people can move much faster than I can write.

2. War books

Image result for the princess bride gifs

And so I decided to write one.

Of course.

I know nothing about war – I’ve never fought in one, started one, or lived through one. I don’t know how wars work and I certainly don’t understand strategy.

I need to go play some chess…

3. Description

Description is my kryptonite. Historically, I am known to way overdo it.

So I guess you could say that it’s not so much that I can’t write it as much as I can’t write it the right way.

I can’t seem to find a happy place in between inundating you with several paragraphs of nothing but description until you know every detail of the room or character and no description at all because I don’t know how to slip it in between action scenes in a subtle way.

4. Transitions through time

This has to be my worst flaw.

I don’t know how to transition through time. What am I supposed to say?

“Three months later…”

“The next day…”

“That night…”

I sound like the narrator of a sad TV show!

And yet, if I don’t do this, all I have is a bunch of unconnected, choppy scenes that piece together like a puzzle that’s been forced.

5. Life as usual

Image result for too much of it darling gif

How do you paint a picture of life as usual? How do you show that things have been going on this way for days and weeks and months?

Without writing each and every one of those days and weeks and months?

I can’t say, “And that continued for five months.” I can’t, folks. It’s too ridiculous.

6. Music

As I mentioned before, I know nothing about music.

I know how to listen to it. I’m actually a professional music-listener.

I also attempt to recreate it every once in a while, preferably when there are no family members nearby.

But, technically speaking? I know nothing. I’m hopeless.

7. Female characters

Image result for pirates of the caribbean move gif






I can’t write heroines. Or women at all, honestly.

Which is odd, if you think about it. Because I am one.

I tried to model my female characters after Orual, from my favorite book Till We Have Faces, as she happens to be the only female character in fiction I have liked.

It didn’t work all that way.

Somehow they all still ended up weepy and weak and overemotional. In an attempt not to make them all Katniss.

There you have it!

All my secrets are now in the light.

Excuse me while I go dig a deep hole to hide in for the rest of the month.

How is NaNo going, people? Have you found out anything interesting about yourself? Like what you can’t  write? Or, on a happier note, what you’re good at writing? Tell me your deep, dark secrets! After all, I told you mine…


10 thoughts on “The NaNo Diaries: I Can’t Write… Blank”

    1. Oh, no! I forgot to put humor on the list!!!

      Because seriously, I can get veeeeery Wordy And Nerdy and forget that people don’t want to be lectured at…

      So your comment basically made my day???? I’ve been working really hard on being funny, so I’m glad you think so!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Those GIFs are all perfect.

    Oh goodness—action scenes. I haven’t had to write one (yet) for this NaNo, but I’ve written them for other books and…*cringes*. It’s SO hard, because in my head they look kind of cool and graceful and/or intense, but on the page it feels so bland compared to that? But I mostly write fantasy and it’s something that tends to happen often so…there’s not really a way to get out of writing some.

    I haven’t really discovered anything new yet about myself this NaNo (except that somehow I haven’t fallen behind yet and I don’t know how that happened?). As is often the case with outlines, I haven’t really been sticking to it. I’ve only ever stuck to the outline with a few books I’ve written, and this NaNo novel is not one of them. But it’s working out okay so far, just getting the ideas down and the basic structure, so I’m okay with it for now.


  2. All of these (except #7, I have to remind myself to not forget to have guy characters) are exactly what I feel like/am doing right now, especially the war one. I’m writing about a rebellion, and do I KNOW all the technical terms for political beliefs? No. Do I even know the name of the city that this all takes place in? No! (Though in all honesty, “the capital of Arevik” does count for more words than a city called “X”, which I guess is a plus. Albeit a tedious plus.)


  3. “I cannot write action scenes to save my life. Or, in this case, to save my character’s lives.
    People keep asking me why all my characters are dead. Now you know.” Mwahaha! KATE!!! This was fuuuuny! Whoever said you couldn’t write humor? Bah, humbug!! 😛

    I enjoyed this post very much, and can relate to a lot of it. Points 4 and 5 especially. Argh. The transitions! I’m horrible at transitions. And seriously, I KNOOOOW! How DO you write about “life as usual” without writing out every single event in detail? How do you jump time without you story sounding choppy? How do convey a massive idea into just one single, profound sentence? (Being concise is definitely NOT one of my strong points. In fact, I’d say it’s probably one of my greatest weaknesses. I just have a horrible habit of over-explaining things in my writing.)

    Thanks for another delightful post, Kate! And congratulations for sticking with NaNo and refusing to give up even when it was tough! (Also for managing to some how keep up with blogging and so many other things while still staying on top of your word count. Goodness. I don’t know how you do it. ;))


    1. *blushes* Yes, well. Sometimes the words come???

      Weirdly enough, it would seem I was TOO concise? I ran out of book to write (and my book was pretty action-packed right from the start) after about a week. So apparently I can pack LOTS of book into very few words/pages… Oops?

      I know, right? I posted MORE this month than I normally do. WHUT. I guess I felt less guilty procrastinating by writing blog posts than if I was reading or doing nothing… Also THAT SCHEDULE BUTTON. SAVED MY LIFE.


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