Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nanowrimo: The Dreaded Week Two Doldrums

I'm in the midst of NaNoWriMo again. That's National Novel Writing Month for those of you not in the know. I'm writing as a rebel this month, that is, editing and adding to a novel that I started during NaNoWriMo 2011 and never actually finished.

Since I was already well into my story, I hoped I might be able to skip the week two "I hate my novel and everything about it" phase that is so common during week two. And I have, sort of. I actually don't hate my novel, although the dystopian setting is a horribly unpleasant reminder of why the separation of church and state is such an important foundation to any civilized society. My characters certainly hate their world, which is why they are trying to escape.

I am satisfied with much of what I have written so far, especially since I am less concerned with word count padding and more with getting some solid work done that a decent editor can help me tweak into something worth reading. It's not perfect, but so far, I have an exciting story and some characters who are gradually becoming more rounded and complex as I go. But...

I have reached a point where I have no clue what comes next. And my characters aren't talking to me. I've tried to force myself to create an outline, but it's just not happening. I'm pretty sure that one of my main characters (and probably a couple of my minor characters) have to die, but the how and the why of it are eluding me.

So here's the crux of my struggle with NaNoWriMo. Do I write a bunch of crap that I'll have to spend time weeding out later, or do I stick with my habitual edit-as-I-go writing style and hope that inspiration will strike me at some point? I know that the point of NaNoWriMo is to write as much as possible, even if 90% of it is crap. And I see the benefit in writing what's in you without judging--sometimes the fear of a blank page is so paralyzing that nothing ever gets done. On the other hand, I'm not doing NaNoWriMo simply for bragging rights about an inflated word count that means nothing. I want to come out of this month (or the next, or the next) with a draft that I don't have to be embarrassed to show to a reader.

And so far, only my mom has seen this story. She likes it, but she's my mom--that's kind of in the job description!

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