Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaNoWriMo Week Two: That Awkward Middle Bit

This is Week Two of NaNoWriMo. And I'm bang in the middle of That Awkward Middle Bit.  This is the part of the month where things get really tough. Especially when billions of exam papers and planning meetings and all kinds of other stresses attack perfectly innocent novelists!

The good news is, although I am not really alive and full of energy, I am still on track with the word count.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1) Plot Outline(ish)

So I didn't actually plan my novel in that much detail in the end. I tried hard, but I just ran out of time before NaNo began. So I have a hand-wavy excel spreadsheet which I have mostly ignored and certainly changed an awful lot.

But what I do have is a dead body, a good isolation mechanism (island in a summer storm!), a reasonable murder method and A LOT of people with subtle and complicated motives which are taking chapters and chapters to elucidate. 

So when I finish explaining one bit of motive/dark secret, I can usually just open up the next can of worms and serve. As long as I keep remembering to add little hints ahead of the time! 

Having a pretty good idea of all this detail before the time (though I'm STILL not sure whodunnit) has made a big difference to my experience of the difficult middle patch this year!

2) Conversations


Almost all of my big drama takes place in conversations. I like writing conversations. They go fast. They gallop through words. They don't usually require a lot of background information. They tend to be more emotionally believable. I can write a thousand words of reasonably believable conversation in just over an hour. 

..." she said ironically.

Win-win. Seriously. Particularly when above-mentioned characters and motives can be merrily elucidated (mostly) via multiple little conversations!

Having more than three main characters to converse with each other (unlike last year) has also helped a lot. There is only so much three characters can say to each other. Eight characters? So much more possibility.

3) Sprints

Late in the evening, when I'm really tired and sick of the whole damn thing, doing word sprints with my mum or sister via Whatsapp or even with myself via well, real life has really helped!

The idea is that you write like mad...for a very short defined period of time. Fifteen minutes works well for me. If I'm racing and already in the middle of a scene, I can sometimes get close to 500 words done in 15 minutes. And not that poor quality words either.

Oddly enough, once the sprint is done I often have more motivation to keep going for longer. Yay for self-inflicted mind tricks! 

4) Um...Not spending too much time writing blog posts...

Okay, so I'm out of here. See you next week!

Just kidding. Seriously, keep wishing me luck. Two weeks to go :-) Do you have any survival hints for "that awkward middle bit" of a large project or piece of writing?

yours perseveringly

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