Photo by Elliot Cooper on Unsplash
I have plans to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. It’s been a difficult year so far, and writing has somewhat fallen by the wayside as I deal with grief and loss.
Still, life does go on, and that means writing. I have no idea at the moment what I shall write in November. No clue. But I am sure inspiration will arrive before then.
As a writer, do you have plans to do NaNo?
Some writers swear by the “pantser” method which means no plan, no outline, and only a small idea to begin to write.
The “planner” on the other hand prefers a near complete outline of story, with characters drawn clearly and a good idea of the story and how it will proceed.
I tend to be a “pantser” although last year I did work with a rough outline.
Writers, let’s do this together, no matter which method you use.
It isn’t long until NaNo begins.
Many years ago, when I was a child, my mother and I watched a movie (or perhaps it was a short drama program) on television. The story was about a woman who loved a man from afar. She existed on the edges of his life, witnessing the important events of his life, but she was never introduced to him and never did she have a relationship with him, except for in her own mind. At the end of the show, she died, an old woman. In her last hours, the man read a letter she had written to him, but when he arrived at her home she had died. As the credits rolled, the screen showed “The Beginning” instead of the expected “The End.”
I have been thinking lately how things do indeed come to an end, whether we expect them to or not, and that endings are sometimes filled with dismay, but may also be filled with hope for the future or even dread of what may come next.
All of this is leading up to something, I promise.
When one reads a short story or a novel, the ending should be memorable. That’s not to say that we, as writers, must kill our characters or make them suffer at the end. The end, though, should resolve our characters’ dilemmas and problems. I love a happy ending, but I rarely write them, at least so far. My characters won’t have it! Not yet. It well may be that as I develop as a writer, these unruly persons will fall into line and agree to become happy at last. I can only hope. There. I have ended with an upbeat note!
So….what does everyone think of this idea? A blog post that is “written” by a character from the author’s writing. I think it’s a great suggestion. (Thanks Facebook pages).
Character from a novel in progress:
I hate the way my former schoolmate has got famous. Okay, so not famous like across the country famous. But popular, let’s say, in my hometown. She’s got Followers for godsakes. On Facebook. She has a band, a country and oldies rock band. And she’s the lead female singer. She’s the only female in the band. Like she’s always wanted the attention and now she’s soaking it up, while I work in an automotive shop as the general clerk and gofer.
If I was less sure of myself, I’d probably be jealous. I’m not though. Jealous I mean. I am proud of the way I got out of my depression, when I was bullied in high school and got enough confidence to find a job where I have to meet the public every day.
We ran into each other one day, and that meeting made me stop and think. I wanted to improve myself so that she won’t ever be able to feel all superior again. I will do it. I’ll lose weight and fix my hair and buy new clothes and then I’ll feel better about myself.
Let the changes begin!
NaNoWriMo is coming along great. I’m at 32,022 words today.
It isn’t always easy finding the time or the incentive to write. I’ve had several interruptions when I’ve had to leave my house, as it is still being shown by realtors. There is one “deal” in process, but it ends late Thursday the 17th if they don’t have financing in place by then.
There are other people interested in the house, so that is good. I do hate the idea of moving in winter, but oh well.
Back to writing: I added some extra scenes and some extra chapters into my work in progress. The story was coming to an end far too fast to reach a word count of over 50,000.
By adding these extras, I was able to think of more “what if?” situations, which in turn gave me more to write.
I’ve also killed off two people already. Not my main character, though. I think I am going to send her to prison for a while.
I have now reached 7315 words for NaNoWriMo.
This post continues the blog challenge for the month.
We have had two – not one but two – offers for the house. We took the highest offer, and must wait a week, and pass a home inspection by November 14th.
All the hard work of sorting, packing, cleaning and donating has paid off I believe.
The same will be true of NaNoWriMo. It takes dedication and determination to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It also requires some imagination and I think that sometimes this is where we, as writers, can fall flat. It is very easy to burn out during November. At first, the Muse may be cascading ideas upon you, and then, there is nothing. Nothing to write.
Then it’s time to ask – What is the worst that might happen to my character now? What does my main character fear most? Love the best? What does he/she need to learn? Where is he/she going to be at the end of the story?
Where are the highs and lows? Do I need another crisis – another thread in this story?
So far, I am writing without having to stop and concentrate on these things, but I am sure that the time will arrive.
Some writers create an outline of the story, before they begin to write. Others are knowing as “pantsers” and prefer to write and plot as they go along.
The main thing to remember about a plot is that it should generally follow these guidelines, whether planned ahead of time, or as the work progresses.
Three Act Structure
Act One is the Set up
- Inciting Incident
- Second Thoughts
Climax of Act One
(these obstacles are ascending action)
The Midpoint (a big twist)
Climax of Act Two (this is the height of the story)
Act Three is the Resolution
Descending Action as Climax of Act Three
followed by the wrap up and the End.
I tend to write and create as I go along. The characters, so far, have taken on their own personalities and behaved as they wish. I do not plot an outline ahead of time. That is for later, once the main part of the story is written. This has served me well and I don’t think that I will try a plot line in advance, any time soon.