Ok, I have to admit it: I’ve fallen for NaNoWriMo, and I’ve fallen hard.
When I first heard of it a few years ago, I thought it would be a neat thing to try, but that it wasn’t the right thing for me to do. Then, when I decided to go for it a few weeks ago, I thought that I would approach it in a very detached manner – write the words, count them up, and bam. A good day’s work of writing done, I would then sleep like a baby.
However, now that I’ve actually got an account on the main NaNoWriMo site, I have to marvel at what a smooth ship these people run. Municipal Liaisons. An extremely active community. Corporate sponsorship, complete with discounts. And so many people! I’ve gone whole hog and agreed to attend the Toronto-area brunch they’re having in a few days, got myself a NaNo mentor, and am even in the process of arranging write-ins with other NaNoers who live near me.
This sort of rush is how I feel about the WCDR too, now that I think about it. Finding people with the same goals and trying to synchronize your activities with theirs is incredibly gratifying.
So, now that I’ve got the love-in out of the way, what do I think about the novel itself that I’m writing?
My method of approaching the process has been a bit surprising to me. I haven’t approached the plot linearly at all. When I started writing on November 1st, I had a very vivid image of a man looking over a wall to see two people coming towards his fort in the distance. I then cut back and forth between the people at the fort and the stragglers heading towards them, and ended with the two parties meeting in the middle of the field.
When I first wrote this scene, I thought the ending would provide enough juice that it would be a great “hook” at the beginning of the story from which I could hang subsequent sections of the story.
However, yesterday, I realized that this meeting didn’t have enough weight behind it, and that it isn’t meant to start the novel at all. It really needs to be the first conflict point about 25% of the way in. So now I’m trying to work myself up to that point.
I’ve been taking a fairly wattle-and-daub approach with this. I’m not writing the book in a linear fashion. I have an idea of how I want A, B, C, and D to connect, but I’ve been hop-scotching over the various parts of the novel, hoping to fill in the holes later. Also, instead of writing one looong word file, I’ve decided to save a different word file for each scene or each day of writing. I figure that if I use this method of saving my work, it will be easier to rearrange scenes for impact later on.
I’m also trying hard not to edit my work, but sometimes it’s hard to resist. I do go back and change certain words to avoid repetition, but I’m quite proud to say that I haven’t touched what I wrote on the 1st or the 2nd. Maybe over the weekend I’ll put the jigsaw pieces together.