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?
The last two days have kind of conspired against me. New dog and little sleep means no writing. Good thing I built up such a hefty word bank!. In fact, I’m well on course to finish a record nine days early, right in the midst of the deadly week three.
Of course that’s not the end of my novel, not even halfway. Given my excellent performance so far, ahead of schedule, I’ve revised my drafting plan. I want to be done with the rough draft by the end of December, a full two weeks ahead of my originally planned completion date in January. That’ll give me a full three months to do the revision, and although I might need more than that, that’s pretty much all I’m going to allow myself.
NaNoWriMo 2010 is officially underway. In the last 30 minutes, I’ve written about 1,110 words, almost 1% of my novel’s total estimated length. I just have to do that 100 more times over the next month, plus a little extra on the weekends, and I’ll be sitting pretty darned pretty.
Oh, and all of my planning didn’t cause me to immediately choke. I had this fear all day that I would sit down at my keyboard, write a few paragraphs, and then suddenly think, “Oh crap. I don’t want to write this story!” Then I’d have to start all over with the plot and characters and so forth. But it didn’t, and now I can go to bed happy.
I don’t know if any of the Portland Wrimos are reading this, but since the downtown Portland write-in takes place on a Thursday, I’m not going to be able to attend, which sucks because the downtown people were pretty awesome at the kickoff party. Instead, I’m tentatively going to be hitting the SE write-in on Tuesday in Woodstock. Details are in the forums, as always.
I am a discovery writer. Despite some interesting experiences in the last few weeks, I tend not to do well with pre-planning, extensive outlines, detailed character biographies, and most else that doesn’t involve drafting and revising.
I should qualify that a little bit. I think that there’s a continuum of writing styles, from the heavy outliners to the discovery writers. Most people will hover about the middle half of that continuum, where they like to do a little bit of planning a head of time, and a little bit of figuring it out as they go.
The “figure it out as I go” part of the scale is where I feel most at home. In 2008, I abandoned my first NaNoWriMo idea (which I had done a fair bit of planning for) and started an entirely new novel with different characters, setting, plot, and genre on November 3rd. I still won that year and not only was it a blast, but it was one of the better novels I’ve written – in fact I’m revisiting a lot of the concepts in it for this year’s NaNo novel.
On the other hand, this doesn’t always work so well.
I hit a big planning milestone today: I started work on a detailed outline. I have never done this before writing a story of any length, and I have to say that doing it before writing a novel is a little intimidating. For one thing, it was hard getting started, and for another, I’m really worried that it’s setting me up for failure.
Let me explain a little bit. Just like everyone who writes without outlining first, I always start stories off really strong, then get somewhere between a few thousand and a few tens of thousands of words into them before suddenly realizing that I’m out of inspiration. Up until this point, I’ve kept kind of a mental outline of what I wanted to have happen in the back of my mind, but suddenly, that’s run out like a bad date, leaving me along to pay up the balance of my story.
If you Google “write a novel in six months,” you find a couple of other people who have created ambitious plans to do just that, but not a single person (as far as I can tell) who has actually succeeded. I’m not sure if that’s the best sign or not.
Regardless, I’m scavenging from their ambition to create a plan of my own. Naturally, I plan to be more successful than those internet failures, although time will tell.
So here’s the plan. There are 26 weeks in 6 months. October 3rd (tomorrow) will be the first day of the first week. There, it will begin.