The tail end of NaNoWriMo is fast approaching, and it’s a miracle that I’m not more than a day’s hard labor behind. I’m excellent at filling up a word count quota on short notice. I am the champion of wandering around someone’s thoughts, and ending up with them taking a step forward a thousand words later. They’re tricks of the trade, after all, if you want your story to survive NaNoWriMo and still come out reasonably close to what you want it to be.
I’m writing a sequel this year to the novel I “finished” last year. In reality, I want to squish them together. Maybe market them as a magna-book if it ever comes to that. I was pretty sure that I ran completely out of novel ideas and plot lines last year or in the six years preceding last year, but I forgot how intricate I made this plot. I’m lucky, I guess. Spoiled for lack of a better word. I know, to some extent, exactly what’s going to happen in the next ten, twelve chapters. Okay, exactly isn’t exactly right. I work off of a very rough outline that says Mr. Slugbuddy goes for a swim or Grover Cleveland opens an elk preserve (maybe he feels triumphant!). It’s simplistic to the point of uselessness sometimes, but it helps when you’ve had this damned story in your head for years. It makes the pressure of finding something meaningful to spend words on so much lighter.
NaNo’s not hard for me because of the time and productivity constraints (I usually work best from about 10:30 to midnight, unless I’m tired—which is usually true). It’s hard because I’m a perfectionist, and I can’t write without flow. Sometimes, my paragraphs come to a jarring halt and everything stops until I can figure out why the previous sentence sounds so crappy. Everything hinges on everything before it, at least in my mind. Which is why I favor thought over actions. Thoughts are seamless; actions interrupt. My novel is probably 95% thought processes, 4% people whining, and 1% someone getting off their ass to go stick a sword in some other guy. But boy, the buildup to that 1%? Priceless. Maybe you could say I work the suspense angle. On second thought, maybe not.
I’m three days away from freedom and jubilation and going to bed accomplished. My last hurrah before finals, which will undoubtedly kick my ass. Oh well. I’ll take what I can get. Part II, here I come!