Well, I made it this far. Week 3 of NaNo. I’m keeping up, but not afraid to claim I’m keeping up by copying in scenes from a previous version so I have them at the ready when I massage the scenes to fit the new plot and POV. I wrote the original in third POV, but for this new re-vision of the story, I chose to switch to first POV. Of course, with dual timelines, I have the opportunity to hang onto third POV for the historical timeline, which is new to the story.
How does copying original scenes into my working project help, you ask (besides the obvious word count)? I use Scrivener as my writing tool of choice. One reason is I can see two separate scenes (files) side by side. It’s great for keeping the original scene readily available for reference without having to switch to a different window.
The other thing these copied scenes offer me is a reminder of what the story was before. Granted, half the story is original, because the original didn’t have dual timelines, and the plot has changed enough that those original scenes may not work with the new story, but I’m thinking at least a couple of the scenes will live well within the re-visioned story.
More importantly, though, I’m re-establishing the habit of writing every day. I’m also reminded why my personal writing retreats at the Shire are so awesome–no distractions! At home, there are always distractions, but I hide in my bedroom to escape (yes, I know you’re only supposed to sleep in a bedroom, but when one has no other area away from distractions, you use it).
By this point, though, I haven’t made as much progress on the actual story as I’d hoped, or as I think I would have if I’d spent a few weeks actually working on the plot. Which I normally do, but this year I was deep into revisions of Book 2, which I set aside to dive into NaNo. Don’t tell my agent …
I’ve been working through the story using stream-of-consciousness writing, trying to cobble together the plot as I go. Not that I have anything against pantsing, but I typically think about a story for quite a while before I ever write a word. The original version of this story didn’t even have an unexplained death in it! I like to know, or at least have a pretty good idea, of where the story goes before I dive in. I know how it ends, sort of. I know who the antagonist is, or at least one of them. There’s another character who was the antagonist in the original, but since the story changed, that character’s role has, too. Sort of. I’m just not sure if he’s in cahoots with the antagonist, or if he has his own agenda.
Man, I’d almost head to the Shire for another retreat, except it’s winter. In MN. And I’m not all that fond of driving in weather, and given how wonky the weather has gotten, I’m not willing to take the chance I’d get halfway there and hit a snowstorm, or halfway through my stay and get snowed in.
I love being a remote worker–no commutes through weather!
In any case, two weeks or so to go, with a short week coming up in the sense that it’s a holiday week. And since I hate shopping, and I hate crowds, I won’t be going anywhere on Black Friday–for years I’ve done all my Black Friday shopping (Christmas shopping, you know) online. Now that the kids are on their own–sort of (my son is adulting just fine, my daughter is a boomerang and is still trying to figure all the adulting responsibilities out)–my Christmas shopping consists mostly of picking a theme and getting token gifts for my nieces and nephews who haven’t entered the world of adults yet. This year’s theme, I think, will be puzzles.
Ugh, Christmas already? It will be an excuse to hang Christmas lights!
Keep on writing!
Well, in the span of one day, we went from September/October temps to December temps (68 F to 35 F). So, I equate this to the Old Man of Winter slapping us across the face. Yeesh. Luckily we haven’t had any winter storm stuff yet, unlike North Dakota, which got a FOOT or more of snow in the past day or two.
Yep, you guys can have it at this point in the season. I’m not ready for snow. Rain, yes. We did get a little rain, but not nearly enough to make a dent in the drought.
Anyway, I’m supposed to be recapping my progress in NaNo this past week. In a word, meh. For the actual writing on the story, that is. In lieu of adding words to the story, I’ve been finding myself writing a “stream of consciousness” to talk through the story and what to write. Which doesn’t add anything to the story itself, but I did work out a problem, and I’m still trying to work out another part of the story that I haven’t really figured out yet.
That’s what I get for jumping into NaNo without spending a few weeks ahead of time to really look at the story and where I want to take it. What I like to do before NaNo is take the month before and work out the plot. I don’t really outline as much as I use a timeline, which I suppose is a sort of outline.
The point though, that I keep reminding myself, is any words written, whether for the story or to work through the story, are more words than were written before. Keep moving forward. And actually, I think I need to do the “stream of consciousness” writing–it’s been a while since I worked on this project, and it’s a good way for me to reconnect and remind myself about the story, and most importantly, finish working through the plot.
So yes, I’m keeping up, but the actual writing on the story isn’t progressing. I do count brainstorming and plotting as a win, though. If I can work out how the story moves to the end, it’ll be that much easier to write it. I always feel better when I know the whole story and just need to put it on paper.
Is anyone else working on NaNo? How is it going for you? Managing to hit the daily quota? Even if you aren’t, just remember that regardless of how far you get on the story, at least you are writing. Bonus points if you are writing every single day!
Well, I’ve got to get back to it. Have a great weekend and keep writing!
Ugh. My grand plan to actually start writing for NaNo on November 1st was a big case of Real Life saying “Ha! I don’t think so.”
Pretty sure it also asked someone to hold its beer while it showed me exactly how successful I’d be starting NaNo on the 1st day (not!). I almost–almost–decided to skip this year’s NaNo. Then I figured what the hell, might as well try it.
Complicated, of course, by the fact that honestly, I wasn’t really sure which project I wanted to work on (still not sure). I did spend some time reviewing the part of my project I’d already written for a prior NaNo, just to remind myself where I was going with it. And I did some stream-of-consciousness writing to both get some word count and work through a question about character motivation.
That was good; I avoided writing myself into a not-quite-plausible plot knot. There’s still the matter of not being quite sure where to dive into the story next.
Normally I write chronologically, by chapter: this happens, then that happens, then this other thing happens, then it’s the next day, etc., and however many scenes might be in the chapter. With this project, I decided it might work better to write each scene separately, since it has dual timelines. That way I think it’ll be easier to alternate the historical timeline scenes and the modern timeline scenes.
Which should also translate into making it easier to just jump back into the story, by letting me write whatever scene I feel like writing next. “Should” is the key word, here.
The whole point of NaNo, at least in my world, is to get back into a writing routine. Reset that habit of writing every day, or just about every day. Then I think back fondly to my days at my writing retreat at the Shire. Man, talk about having no distractions, and being able to do nothing but write without the call of chores to do or hours of TV news to try to ignore. Now that’s the way to write every day!
Needless to say, I’ve already warned hubs that I plan on doing two personal writing retreats a year at the Shire, one in spring before Memorial Day, and one in fall after Labor Day (it’s a big tourist area up there, where people have lake cabins and all the stuff that goes with that).
Anyway, I think I’ll be able to make the quota for Week 1 (crossing fingers). It won’t be pretty, or even make sense in some places, but hey, it’s still writing. Bonus for week 2: the company I work for recognizes Veteran’s Day as a holiday! So short week next week, and more time to keep up with the NaNos 🙂
Happy Writing everyone!
The countdown has begun for the annual writers’ challenge of cranking out 50k words in 30 days–yippee! Well, okay, maybe not “yippee”, more like … well, it’s time to reestablish my “write every day” habit.
Right now I’m working on another revision pass through Book 2, which is going pretty well so far. Will I finish in time for NaNo? I’m halfway through Book 2, and I’d like to get through it before NaNo starts, a good plan, all except for the part about letting it sit for another couple weeks before a final run-through and sending it off to my agent.
Then there’s the other question: what to work on? I have two projects that are candidates: my rural MN mystery, which I’m halfway through and need to finish, or Book 3, which doesn’t have a solid plot yet, but a good start (on a plot, that is, thanks to my Writing Sisters). It’d be nice to get the rural MN mystery drafted; it’s a reboot of a draft I wrote many years ago that lacked an actual major crime. Come to think of it, it’s probably more romantic suspense than straight-up mystery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but this reboot has dual timelines and a 50-yr-old unsolved murder.
Book 3 has my intrepid characters from my published book and Book 2. I’ve been spending a lot of time with them, so on one hand, I’d spend more time with them. On the other, it’s like that couple you’re really good friends with, and you hang out with, but it’s nice to take a break from them.
Then again, if I wanted to write something completely different, there’s always that urban fantasy my Muse keeps dangling in front of me.
Okay, I have no shortage of projects, just a shortage of focus and an abundance of opportunities to procrastinate. It’s time to take down the garden fence; this weekend is supposed to be really nice and really mild (like, in the 60s and sunny mild), and I got all the fabric mulch and soaker hoses out already. And there’s always my least-favorite chore: cleaning. Which I have been neglecting (PSA: if you plan on visiting, y’all probably should let me know, like, weeks in advance).
Anyway, I think the rural MN mystery will win out. If I can get that finished, then I can start revising it. After my police procedural. And maybe before I start Book 3.
Do you have numerous projects going at once? How do you choose what to work on at any particular time?
In any case, if you’re one of those people who loves Halloween, have a great holiday weekend!
Keep on writing!