Tuesday, November 6, 2012

uncharted territories

Six days and over 11,000 words into NaNoWriMo and the winds of change are already blowing me off course. I have a vague list of scenes that I need up to a certain point (read: a cliff-esque point beyond which I have no idea what happens from there to the ending, which is already somewhat mythical in terms of its existence) that I plotted out in advance. When I actually sit down to write the scene, I bullet out everything I need to see and learn by the end of it. This helps me stay focused and has allowed me to write more per hour than I ever have before (major thanks to Rachel Aaron's ridiculously helpful blog post on this). 

But having this vague list of scenes has also allowed for a ton of wiggle room. I like wiggle room. It lets my story breathe a little, making way for unexpected scenes, twists, and elements that end up becoming vital to the story. In the past I've had the tendency to blaze through events. So this has also taught me to slow down and really get my hands dirty in the story, which is good! What's strange is how, despite having these tiny goals mapped out beforehand, bizarre things happen anyway. A character will say something surprising, a new plot line will present itself, heck, I just had a character appear out of nowhere once I'd already begun typing; someone I'd never planned for and didn't realize I had room for. And she's a great addition!

The world my characters live in is becoming richer, the protagonist is finding her voice a bit more, so things are going well. You know, apart from this villain I've created who has such a mind of her own on the page that she's even starting to scare me and I imagined her to life! The story is quickly evolving into something so much larger. It's terribly exciting, but I won't lie to you... I am freaking out! Still, with 24 days and a little under 39,000 words to go, there's no time to dwell on that fear (yet another pro of NaNoWriMo). Full steam ahead!

And just in case you're wondering what happened to my procrastination skills, I give you my latest kryptonite, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It's a weekly vlog that's retelling Pride & Prejudice with a modern twist. I'm absolutely loving it! Lydia and Bing Lee are hands down my favorites and "Darcybot malfunction" might have to be my new go-to phrase when I'm having writer's block! Here's the first episode to get you started:
It really sucks you in when you get going, so I hope you have four hours on your hands. This week we saw Darcy for the second time ever and it was the letter scene i.e. eeee!!!! He gets called a newsie, so you know I'm rooting for him even though I don't really like him yet (which is fantastic because in every other adaptation I'm in love with him by this point, but now I'm truly seeing him through Lizzie's eyes). Enjoy!


  1. I think it's incredibly EPIC that you're doing NaNo and sticking to it! I tried it two years and a row, and, well, you know my procrastination skills are TERRIBLE. That said, I am SO ready for you to finish this thing and get it published because I know it'll be amazing. Plus, I like that I'll be able to go around telling everyone that one of my really good friends is a PUBLISHED writer!

    1. I can't wait till *I* can go around saying my friend's a published writer. I still get all warm-cookie feeling whenever I think of the intro to the story you sent me!

      NaNo is so hard! Honestly I don't think I could have made it this far without having so much of it mapped out in advance. Now that I'm in No Man's Land, though, I'm not sure I'll continue moving at the pace I have been. I'd really love to try NaNo again one year where I've actually worked out a detailed plan and have a ton of notes. Discovering everything along the way is exciting, but it can be a mess trying to keep things straight!