Happy Thanksgiving, my America readers! I don’t know about you, but I am lately stuffed with turkey, ham, and carbohydrates of various sorts. It’s a good day for the ol’ red, white, and blue.
With the business surrounding the holiday and some relatives from out of town showing up, I haven’t exactly kept up the ol’ Wrimo pace, but I’m starting up again. Despite the holiday this weekend I’m planning on writing around 15K words from today until then. I’m about 4K in so far and going strong.
Let’s do some more talking about discovery writing for a few moments, shall we?
So, this novel is going to be so much longer than anything that I’ve written before that I wasn’t exactly sure how to write it when I got started. During most NaNoWriMos of the past, having too little to write isn’t really a problem: as long as you don’t start with a ridiculously narrow idea, it doesn’t take much to write a 50,000 word novel about it. But writing a novel two and a half times as long is a little more questionable, especially when you’ve already written a similar novel with the same basic plot, and you know that it was 50,000 words.
So heretofore I’ve been over-writing by a ridiculous amount. I’ve mentioned this before, I know, but it keeps getting driven home. I could probably boil my 56,000 words so far into 40,000 words without much effort. I’ve had too much exposition and not enough action. Even my outline has turned out to be deceiving in this regard. I’m not terribly concerned about this, but I do have to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to play for word count anymore. The plot and characters are filling things out just fine on their own.
My second experience is a somewhat more gratifying one: I am finding that plots and characters that I’d just kept in for expository purposes, or occasional glances into the background of the story keep trying to assume dominance and become proper subplots. Rather than being a story about two characters who are almost always together, it’s a story about two characters, the people trying to hunt them down, the bosses of the people trying to hunt them, and the people that they meet in each part of the book who work with or again them. It’s kind of cool, and it’s really meant that my semi-arbitrary division of my book into parts isn’t quite so arbitrary: each section has its own little plot arch quite apart from the main characters.
That’s what I love about discovery writing: you get to see all of this evolve on the page right in front of you. Of course it means major re-writes down the line, but who cares? I’ve learned a heck of a lot writing this book; I can see why they say it takes a million unpublishable words to write your first publishable one.