Three steps forward, two steps back

The novel draft is progressing. In fact, in the last 18 days I’ve written about 26,000 words. I’ve written every single day and I’ve done a super-human job (at least for me) of not going back and agonizing over every word and sentence.

Forward momentum wins.

Well, until this week. I’ve gotten to the end of the first act of the novel and I’m not entirely sure what happens next. I mean, I know the broad brush strokes and I have an idea of where I’m headed and how it all ends. But the specifics of how I get there? No clue.

I’ve been participating in NaNo, and the spirit of NaNo is to plow ahead and see what comes out, but I like to have a plan. I like to think first about themes and character arcs and how the specific events of the plot work to develop both. I like to work and rework those elements as I go.

Sometimes when I plow ahead without an outline it feels like I’m making wonderful progress. So many words, so fast! But it’s always three steps forward, two steps back. I end up having to tear out most of what I’ve written and rewrite it after I’ve thought through my outline, my themes, my character arcs.

So, I’m taking a short break from the flood of words to figure things out, do a little outlining, and make sure that the words I write are moving things where they need to go.

Making words. Lots of them. Really fast.

I’ve got a new novel cooking. Brainstorming is done. The outline is ready(ish). Nothing remains but to write the damn thing. You know, the easy part (hahahahahaha!)

In the spirit of motivation and accountability, I’ll be writing along with the hordes of others participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to ride the collective manic ra-ra-ra energy of thousands of other writers to complete 60K in the month of November.

What you end up with, of course, is likely to be a slightly fetid, overwritten, ugly first draft. But most first drafts end up in that condition anyway, whether you take one month to write them or three. 60K is also a bit shy of a full novel draft (most of my novels settle in the 80K range). Still, it’s a good start and a nice external push to just get it done.

I’ve done NaNo once before, and it went pretty well, though pumping out lots of words without going back over them, revising, and rethinking is not my natural inclination. I like to tinker as I go, so plowing ahead and promising myself to fix all the mistakes and work in all the lovely nuance later will be a real challenge.

I like a challenge.

So, no time to write more here…I’ve got a good 2K write today if I’m gonna keep the pace.

Laters, and happy writing, fellow NaNoers!