NaNoWriMo Halfway Report
Well, so far, so good. I’m sitting here at the halfway point of with 32K words, my target being ~60K words. Unfortunately, my four “days off” are coming soon. I’m going to be at Steamcon Fri, Sat, and Sunday this week, and next week I traditionally take T-day off (but make up for it on Black Friday in an all-day writing spree). My pace is well under last year, especially considering that my wife wrecked her car last November and I lost a lot of time due to that…and I still finished 5 days early. This year my target is lower, and I’ve been working on a couple other things.
So storywise, it’s interesting. I’m writing a completely contemporary mystery, no Sci-Fi, no secret agents, just everyday people. Okay, there’s a mad scientist. D’ohh! Well, I never worked a good mad scientist into Steam Palace, so I guess some of that rubbed off. But still, it’s not science fiction, I promise.
I’ve stuck fairly well to the storyline. There have been a few characters that I created who I’ve never used, and a few that are creeping out of nowhere to take prominent roles. The plot has more holes than a gun range target, and it’s not all that close to what I started with, but I kind of expected that.
Here’s the thing to remember as you draft. Don’t let your plot run the story. Characters should always drive it. Emotion. Fear. Anger. Love. Week 2 is always the hardest week, because once you’ve introduced the characters and the world, then what? I had in mind a scene where my detective and the damsel in distress are in a car and the car flies off the road into a lake where they almost die. That was my goal. But that was plot. I had to know why they were in that car, why no one else was in it, and where they were going. (I had a couple of near-drowning scenes in the first draft of Steam Palace that didn’t make it into the second…again when I have ideas I’m determined to use them).
So with that scene in mind, I started creating complications. Intrigue. Questions. Characters who acted unexpectedly. Relationships develop. When I finally hit that critical scene, now the whole rest of the story is unfolding. I now a vision of the final climactic scene, the “reveal” as it were. That scene will be the driving force for the next 2 weeks. That’s the make-or-break part of the book. That’s when my hero will be tested and he’ll know once and for all who his true friends are, and whether he has what it takes to be a true detective.
The other thing was that whenever I got stuck, I just think of another scene to write, something where two characters interact in some way. I don’t know how, but it just sort of works. This is why you have to just rely on your characters. Give them strong goals and motivations, and let them do their own thing, even if it takes your story somewhere else. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo, you never know what you’re going to get.
You’re over the hump, and it’s all downhill from here!