That Nutty First Draft

As I’ve mentioned, I’m using NaNoWriMo to pump out a first draft this month. I went into how that all works for me a few posts back.

So here we are, nearly 2/3 of the way through November. Things are going well, but there were some rough days when the words needed to be ripped out of me like weeds in summer-baked dirt. I’m on time at the moment, though, so I’m happy with that.

It’s been an interesting writing experience. I had so much going on in October that I skimped on my outline a little. I told myself it was “good enough”.

For the most part, that’s been true. One thing I was counting on was that I know that when I start writing, things tend to just take care of themselves. I never plot dialogue; my characters will say what they should say and they know better than I do. And that’s worked out nicely. I knew one character would be driving a lot of the plot, so all I had to do what get him doing things, anything. I just write it down.

That sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? Well, all artists are crazy and I’m one of the crazier ones.

One thing that slowed me down right at the beginning was that on day one, I added a major plot point. I never outlined this idea, it never even occurred to me. And it’s like the glue that holds my whole story together. So I had to let the idea sink in, yet keep writing.

It felt murky and clumsy at first. An added difficulty was writing the re-introduction of recurring characters. This is always something that ends up getting worked over a lot in editing. But even though I know it doesn’t have to be perfect, it slows me down.

I finally got to a point where I had to stop and update my outline to reflect what I’d actually written and what it meant to the rest of the story. It was frustrating to work so hard on the story without adding many new words. Also, it’s kind of against the spirit of NaNoWriMo, in that it smacks of editing. But sometimes you just have to step back and make sure you’re writing the book you want to write. There’d be no profit in going off for 40K words in the wrong direction.

I’m back in the swing of things now. I’m not as far ahead as I usually am at this point in a writing month, but I’m not behind either. And I’m excited for how this story will turn out!

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