Things haven’t exactly gone as predicted this year.
My habit, in years past, has been to spend the whole summer before NaNo preparing. I outline the hell out of it, which frees my mind up from worrying about plot to concentrate on prose. This year I couldn’t settle on a project to do it justice. I came closest with UNCHURCHED, writing a massive 9k word outline, but the latest feedback I got required a lot of thought to implement and so I put it aside for after November.
That left me with a few half-baked projects to choose from. I started with MASQUE, a YA dystopian that might wind up as hard sci fi. In October I joined the Pro Writing Aid/Beemgee Plot Of Gold Challenge, which was to use Beemgee’s software to plan your novel. That was actually really helpful, and by the end I had an outline of the main plot thread. But even before NaNo started, I realized that this story needs three narrators, not one. Which means each needs their own arc. I still don’t have arcs hammered out for the extra two narrators. But I plunged in on Nov 1 anyway, vowing to attempt to pants what hadn’t yet been plotted.
I ran into trouble almost immediately, not being in the mood to write the kind of atmosphere the book required. I started skipping whole chapters, and using placeholders instead of scenes, conversations, etc. (My placeholders [look like this] because I never use square brackets for anything else and they’re easy to find.) I was able to build a 3-day buffer and wrote 10k words… then I ran out of motivation completely.
This was a weird feeling. It came down to me realizing that I simply wasn’t prepared enough to write this book at that time. And getting it prepped to the point where I could would eat all of NaNo and I’d never make 50k.
So I switched projects, this time to THE SILK THAT CUTS, a fantasy epic. This was also not fully outlined, but I had done some really solid work on it previously and I figured I would write until I felt I couldn’t anymore. That got me another 14k.
Now I’m on the third project of the month, an otherwise untitled adult romance I’ve nicknamed CORSET QUEEN. This one has no planning done beyond the premise. Which means it’s free and open and I can let the characters lead the plot, which they’re supposed to do anyway.
I started with 1000 words of rambling about backstory, though, so that’s not good. Tangential rambling is my unplotted downfall. Whatever. Drew a line under it and started over.
I’m running a little ahead still, going into Day 15 with over 27k. Even if all I get is rambling for the rest of the month it’ll still count toward getting to know these characters.
And if this project doesn’t work, I’ll try a fourth and even a fifth if I need to. It may not be one novel, but it is more prose than I’ve generated in a long time.