So, I got another pep talk in the mail today and it reminded me of something that I have forgotten (or rather not thought of in the first place) each and every NaNo that I’ve done thus far: that I need to have an ending. To recap: in 2009 I followed up NaNoWriMo with NaNoFiMo that December in hopes of finishing the story. I maxed out a little over 70k with the end nowhere in sight. Then this past summer I continued working on my 2010 NaNoWriMo novel during Camp NaNoWriMo in August with the same intent. I maxed out a little over 80k with the end… well, somewhere in site but still very far away.
This year, I’ve been running into the same problems that I’ve encountered every other year: that I have the plot in my head, I know where I want it to go, and it progresses so slowly that I inevitably beef up the word count well before actually moving a substantial distance on the plot.
Well, this pep talk pointed out something that I have suspected all along: that it is far more creatively satisfying to finish a novel even if it is slightly rushed and not entirely fleshed out than it is to write every detail and end the month without the satisfaction of writing “the end”. This, like all the other pointers I’ve received this month, seems like a really good idea to me.
What this pep talk suggested is that you outline the plot, figure out the four, five or however many scenes are necessary for you to get there, and write those without worrying about the transitions or intermediate scenes that don’t advance the plot. You can add those in later, he argues.
So, not wanting to have yet another unfinished novel sitting on my computer gathering virtual dust I decided to follow this. I have outlined what I want to have happen, I have identified the four scenes I need to get there, and I must admit that I’m already noticing an improvement in my writing. You write differently when you have some idea where you’re going. I can only hope it’s a good different.
Regardless, I’m happy to have a little bit of a road map in mind so I have some direction.
(37,584 words and counting)