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.

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