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NaNoWriMo day 5: Revelations

12,502 words down; 37,498 to go.

When I signed up for NaNoWriMo, I knew that the task would be daunting. You have to average 1,667 words a day to complete a 50,000-word manuscript in 30 days. But I also knew that I didn't have 30 days.

Realistically, I have about 20 writing days this November, and that's with the help and cooperation of my family (who rock, by the way). That means that if I'm going to make it to the finish line with my sanity intact, I have to use each writing day to the fullest: 2,500 words per day. So far, I've managed it.

It's a new kind of writing for me.

Sure I've written 2,500 words in a day before. Every writer gets hot streaks -- each one is wonderful and makes me feels as though I can accomplish anything. But my usual output is much lower than that. As I've mentioned, ad nauseam, I tend to write slowly. Forcing myself to get 2,500 words down each day has revealed some things about myself I didn't realize.

First, there's the quantity of revision I do while I'm composing. I'll write a chapter, start on the next, and quickly realize that two plot strands I began in the previous chapter aren't going to go anywhere and will just be distracting. So I go back, snip them out, rework the passages to make them make sense, and return to the new chapter.

When your goal is to increase the number of words in a novel by 2,500 per day, snipping out large sections of what you've previously written is out of the question. Onward!

Then, although I am loathe to outline and claim to be flexible when it comes to plotting, I appear to have a pretty set idea regarding the shape of my novel.

Back, who knows when, I decided that at some point my main character was going to meet someone who should have been  his enemy but turns out to be his friend. They would survive some pretty harrowing experiences together and that would influence future events. I briefly toyed with the idea of making them lovers and decided, no, my main character already had a true love. Bonds of of friendship don't need sex.

And so, I'm in the middle of this should-have-been-an-enemy-but-turns-out-to-be-a-friend plot point, and I've created a powerful bond, and bang! They've become lovers.

Wait a second. What about the true love? What about friendship without sex?

No time. Can't cut a chapter now. I'll work with it and see where it takes me.

Onward.

It feels kind of breathless, overall. I am writing -- or overwriting -- with abandon. I don't know how much this method will carry over come December, but for the time being, I confess, it's a heck of a lot of fun.

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