Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Writer's Wednesday: NaNo update #2

Battle of the Brains: Planning Vs. Pantsing


Hey, everyone! I'm coming up for air (from the depths of my new MS) and wanted to let you know how it's all going--especially that extensive outline I started with!

We're three weeks in, which means most of us are in the doldrums. At least, that's where I am. I've been managing to meet my word counts every day, but I feel like I'm forcing it out. Like I have constipation of the imagination. This, of course, is famously where the outline helps.

So is my outline helping? Have I stuck to the plan well enough for it to have any meaning at all at this point?

Yes and no, on both counts. I've wandered a bit--things I planned for one point have ended up happening earlier, which leaves me with holes, or a lack of a point for a planned scene. But I do still have a more or less chronological list of the the things that need to happen to get to the solution of the mystery, and I can consult it when I'm flagging.

I also have a growing list of things that I think I'll need to go back and write into earlier scenes, from minor character things to plot points and red herrings. That means I need to look at pulling things to a conclusion around 65 or 70K words, to keep the final draft around 80K.

I think I'm going to have to admit that there's no way for me to make a nice, clean first draft that gets all the story bits in place. I did a great job of visualizing the beginning and ending of the story, but the stuff in between is... fuzzy. I wonder it it's possible for it to be anything else.

Word count as of 11/19: 42084. Less than 8K to "win" NaNo, but just past halfway to a novel.
Target: 80K by Christmas. We have a 2-week trip planned in early December. I'll be writing on airplanes, for sure!

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  1. You make some good points there but I think the plot holes stuff is partly a result of experience. You know you need to put things in. The draft has evolved and has a life of its own.

    I’m very happy with my first draft as written of Princelings 10. But I know there are two bits of business missing, and I really have to include them or several things will not be satisfactory.

    So I think you’re seeing things that are needed as you go, whereas you used to see them on a second or third draft ;)

    1. I like your way of looking at it! And I am looking forward to seeing how you pull everything together in that final Princelings book!

  2. You can do it, Rebecca. I'm cheering you on from the other side of the finish line - with a giant bar of your favourite treat.

    1. Did you escape from your rabbit hole and hit 50K? I'm almost to 45K now, so I won't have any trouble getting to 50. And I think I'm starting to get the story worked out. Jemima's comment helped--reframing what I'm doing in a more positive way!

    2. I dug my way out and I'm now on 56k aiming for the 60k finish line -f words don't fail me. Keep going as we are all rooting for you.


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