Wednesday, 3 November 2010

NaNo Day Three

Day three in the Big NaNo household. Jen is making a cup of tea.

Total word count so far: 4,056.

What have I learned?
Well, that I can write 2,000 words in a day perfectly easily. But I knew that already. Stephen King writes 2,000 words a day without a NaNoWriMo stat counter showing him a little blue bar. It's quite normal for a writer.

The difference now is that I have to write 2,000 words a day (I am busy most weekends in November so I have to do that little bit more each weekday).

When I hit a snag usually I make a cup of tea, chat to the cats, check Facebook... The procrastination kicks in. Now, I have to hit that target or the NaNo Stat Counter will shout at me and so I make that cup of tea, go back into Word and write through it. Turning off the internal editor, I plough on and - miraculously - the snags untangle.

Yesterday I literally found myself jumping for joy as I thought of a plot device that not only got my MC from A to B, but solved a lingering problem in a perfectly natural, unstrained way. I actually whooped.

I don't plot. I have my characters and I have a rough outline of main plot points on a few sides of A4 paper, some notes about my fictional world to keep place names/infrastructure points straight and that is it. It's up to the characters to find their way.

The problem with this approach is that, whilst I am perfectly capable of writing 2,000 words a day, I often get stuck and only nudge in at less than 1,000. What I am hoping to get from NaNo is the discipline to write through the tangles and let them sort themselves out, rather than being discouraged by them.

I can always take out the rubbish parts later. I am aiming to overwrite the novel by 10% at the very least so that I can do just that. (Another tip from Stephen King. Really, if you haven't read Stephen King's On Writing it's one of the best 'how to' books I have read. Whatever you think of his fiction, he is immensely successful and must be doing something right.)

I do have an advantage over the NaNo-ers who are doing this completely properly in that I am already three-quarters of the way through my novel so have momentum and characters who have learned the drill by now. It's the bit from 10,000 to 30,000 that is by far the hardest.

Good luck to all my fellow NaNo-ers this month, especially those doing this with full-time jobs, kids and Salsa classes. Hats off to you.

1 comment:

Rebecca Emin said...

Great post! Glad to read that you are enjoying NaNo. I think it's great that you're using it to suit your WIP - that is exactly what it should be about.