Last month, on the eve of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month/NaNo for short), I talked about preparing myself for the 50,000 word challenge. So, I thought it only fair that I give you an update on how it went. Let’s just say that I did my own version of the challenge that did not leave me with 50,000 words of copy. And, no, I am not kicking myself about the outcome. In fact I’m quite pleased.
Deep in my soul I knew that I wouldn’t get all those words typed, but I also knew I still NEEDED to do something to move forward with my idea. In that same post I talked about focusing on “the best thing that can happen” from taking part in this experience. For me that meant getting a clearer vision of the big picture of the novel. If I learned anything from my past NaNo experiences it’s that I’m more of a character driven writer and that details need to make chronological sense to me in the world of the novel. Just writing “willy-nilly” is the way that I have done things before. This time around it was more important that I figure out from the very beginning: who my characters were, why they did what they did, how the story started and how it could possibly end.
I used the month of November to create a beat sheet structure (See Tim Stout’s post on Blake Snyder’s concept) and ask myself the hard questions that created a solid plot. Now, I know many writers frown on using a beat sheet when writing a first draft, but working with this format has helped me to move further along in my idea than anything I’ve done before. Getting to this point is the best thing that happened for me.
With that said, I am now dedicated to getting down the ugly version of the story, aka the first draft. Whether or not things play out the way they have been outlined so far doesn’t really matter all that much. What does matter is that progress has been made and that I am pushing forward with what has been dubbed “The Project.”
Wish me luck.
Until next time…