Saturday, November 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo: A hot mess first draft

I'll say this about my favorite November exercise, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month: Being done in 50,000 words is far from being done. This year's effort is a hot mess, the sort of mess that makes me think it might be easier to just begin the revision in a couple of weeks with an entirely clean slate.

My validated count for the month was 50,179 words.  Of that, I'll count myself lucky if a third of it actually makes it into the final draft. But the final draft is yet to come. There will be many revisions between now and then.

And that's also the beauty of NaNoWriMo. I discovered a couple of things about my novel as I was writing this month. Chief among them, I kept hopping around, starting a scene here, abandoning it because it wasn't working and starting another scene. My general thinking was along the lines of: "Well, if I go down that path here, then that will pose an issue there."

It finally dawned on me -- today! -- what the problem is. It's not that the scenes don't work. I spent the month trying to make characters do things in places (literally settings) that weren't working. That's when I finally realized that I have a fatal logistical issue in the setting. Finding that out now is much, much better than discovering it down the road, closer to when the manuscript is actually due.

As I write this, there are less than five hours left (East Coast time) for NaNoWriMo 2013. My 50,000 words are done, but the novel is far from complete.

So now the hard work begins. I need to revisit where the protagonists live and work. I need to sort out how a pivotal secondary character is going to play in the overall story arc. I need to brainstorm some better titles than my working one. But mostly, right now, what I need to do is ...


My official word count (as of validation) is 50,179 words. I say as of validation, because since there are a few writing hours left, I'll continue. But right now, this minute, I'm going to jump up and do the happy dance!

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