What they say is true, that it might not rain for a long, long time, but when it starts going, you’ll get a deluge. So I’m not quite building an ark yet, but some good things have been happening this week. Good news on several fronts – some fronts I’ve been patient on for quite awhile (and sometimes impatient – I’m not going to lie!), and other fronts I’ve just had good news that I needed for reassurance. So it’s been a really great week actually. Health? Check! Personal stuff? Check! Potential job news on the horizon? Check! (I said potential…) and writing?
To that I say: NaNoWriMo!
I “won” last year in that I wrote over 50,000 words in November for my first time in NaNo (my amazing sister has done it something like 7 times!), and I’m the first to say that NO ONE will ever read the draft of the story I wrote last year. I haven’t touched that story with a ten foot pole since November ended because I went directly back into polishing Story #1. But it was a fantastic exercise because it showed me what I am more than capable of – getting ideas down, even if I’m not making the most of them. They can always be tweaked and edited and dumped and re-written later 😉
This year, however, I want to make more of it. I’ve had an idea, some vague characters, backstory and a solid premise for about 6 months and have written only a handful of notes here and there. I began plotting on November 1st – properly plotting, mind you. Then I wrote 5,000 words in one sitting, so the first chapter is good to go, and it feels like I have a real sense of this thing.
Getting everything else figured out, that’s the hard bit. And that’s what I struggled with in Story #1. I knew the characters, I knew the themes, I knew the premise, I knew peaks and valleys of the MC’s journey, and I knew the end, but there is SO MUCH about that journey in the middle I struggled with. Act II. How to get it to flow, how to up the stakes to get to Act III, and how to basically fill it in. But not just “fill it in” like it’s some MadLibs and it would all work out magically by coming up with a few events to plop in the central 50% of the story. I know it doesn’t work that way, but I really, really struggle with getting momentum on the series of events that happen between the end of Act I and the start of Act III. I don’t know why.
I just spent the evening reading some amazing blog posts by Nathan Bransford and a few others, all of which really encouraged me and made sense, and gave me insight into how others work. So I feel a bit bolstered up for tomorrow’s NaNo work. Even if I still have no idea what my MC gets up to in the middle.
And I’ve been using Janice Hardy’s awesome series on prepping for NaNo. I printed the series out, stapled it together, and am basically using it as my guide to getting the plotting down. And I realise I’m kinda cheating by plotting and using that as my word count for NaNo, but I figure since I tend to end up putting a lot of dialogue in my plotting, it’s not the end of the world 😉
Hopefully I can use this NaNo to not only get this idea that I feel is worthy into a novel, but maybe conquer my fear of the middle, too.
If you’re NaNoing – best of luck!