Five weeks to go until NaNoWriMo fever hits the writing world. Are you ready for it?
Well, I’m beginning to believe there is such a thing as being over-prepared.
I’m still in the midst of my preparation. I have my characters, a vague plot, my setting and a fairly clear idea of how I want it to end. Things still to consider are viewpoints – because I plan to narrate from more than one POV – where the story begins and I think my character motivations need tightening up. I probably still have some work to do on my secondary characters also, because while I know what they are supposed to be doing, that doesn’t mean that they will conform once I put my fingers on the keyboard and start writing…
How do I know this? Well, read on.
My other major project before 1st November is to complete the first draft of last year’s NaNoWriMo battle. I’m so close. I have about eight more scenes to write totalling possibly 5,000-8,000 words. Except, in my last bout of writing something unexpected happened: the doctor’s wife suddenly showed up and I discovered that she knew my protagonist – which I hadn’t planned for at all.
Now to explain a little, the doctor’s storyline is the secondary plot – the one that takes the reader away from the main show for some light relief. The doctor has been having an affair with his nurse for some time (yes, it’s a cliché) as he’s lost interest in his wife since she discovered they can not have children. I haven’t really thought much about the doctor’s wife, as she isn’t in the novel very much, but recently she has been waving her arms in the air trying to get my attention – hence, showing up in scenes she isn’t mean to be in.
It was only yesterday that I realised how this impacts the main plot. While it might complicate my nice neat plan for getting the novel all wrapped up before NaNo 2012, suddenly I understood what my muse was trying to get at and have now decided that there is an extra twist in the plot to end on. It will probably add a few more scenes, maybe an extra 5,000 words, but it seems like such a great parallel to have the secondary plot follow the trajectory of the main story, despite what these characters have learned from the protagonist. I just can’t resist. It’s almost like history repeating itself and Madeline will be able to get one final punch in before she dies…
It’s these types of (fun) complications that I am concerned with for November. I have planned my NaNo attempt this year much more than my last and given my experience now, realise that “the best laid plans of mice and men can often go awry”. I suppose it isn’t too detrimental for NaNo, because the aim of the game is to just keep writing – so even if I lose my way as long as I can continue onward then I’ll win.
But, this isn’t just about winning. I also want to tell this story that I’ve been holding back on since I thought of it way back in June! NaNo is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for in order to do this. Of course, some might suggest that if, during November, the story does take a different turn, that this is the story I was meant to tell anyway and my muse is purposefully steering it this way despite my outward plotting.
Basically I’ve concluded that I need to stop thinking so much about NaNoWriMo. Otherwise I’ll drive myself crazy. What will happen, will happen. This year I’m not so nervous about making the word-count: I won last year, and I didn’t even really believe I would – at least now I have faith in myself. All you really need is the kernel of an idea to take you forth on the journey to see where it might lead. And I have created myself a great big tree with plenty of nuts…so, come 1st November I guess I’ll just have to see where they fall.
What have I got to lose?