Notes from the NaNo Sausage Factory: Week 3

I ran into a brick wall this week. Things went great Saturday, but Sunday morning, I started to feel like something wasn’t quite right. My progress toward the climax I’d envisioned had slowed, not because I’d overplanned and my plot didn’t match (which has happened before!), but because the story itself had started to feel disjointed, spread too thin.

I know the point of NaNo is to keep writing, no matter what… but I hate wasted effort, and I hate the thought of writing something only to have to scrap it all later on because it didn’t work. So I stopped working, and for the first time in 17 days, I didn’t update my word count.

And I’m okay with that, because I know what I need to solve this problem:

  • A timeline of events, including timespans for each scene.
  • Probably, to consolidate some scenes that are currently fairly repetitive.

On a deeper level, though, I realized that my own shyness, as well as lack of deep knowledge in socio- and other -ologies, has had me avoiding some themes that really need exploration, especially given current events. I realized I’ve taken an overly rosy and simplistic view of the social forces in this story’s subculture, and I need to get uncomfortable.

In short, I need to start the revision process. Based on past experience, I feel pretty confident that this will help me reach the climax and beyond that, the end. Also based on past experience, however, a good revision takes time to percolate in the back of my head. I’ve started to think about other stories, which is a signal that it’s time to move on before I return to this story.

Overall, I’m glad I attempted NaNoWriMo. I drafted a new story that I’d had in my head for some time, and joining in some group exercises helped me to be more productive and meet local writers without having to worry about how my work might be judged by strangers. In many ways I wish this were a longer than one-month effort, but I’ve joined some online NaNo communities, so hopefully this is just the start of something good!

 

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