We’re into week three of NaNoWriMo! While I’m a little behind the official marker, I did start eight days late (Thanks, Disney World, I regret nothing) I’m clipping along pretty well, to the point that I think I’ll catch up by the weekend (just in time to fall behind over Thanksgiving, yes).
I’m following the outline that I slapped together before starting pretty well, and I’m pouring out words, plugging along forward. And the result so far? A big, steaming, snarled up mess. And I am so happy with it.
The whole point of NaNo is quantity, getting as many words out as you can before the month dries up. Quality, coherence, that’s not the point. This, of course, always feels really wrong. When I hit a snag, or realize I took a wrong turn in chapter two, or realize halfway through that no, this is a world where the Internet doesn’t exist, I’m tempted to go back and fix it. Or, if I’m really frustrated, I imagine stuffing the manuscript in a drawer and pretending I never had this awful idea.
But it’s NaNoWriMo. You’re supposed to keep pushing through, and so I do. And I’m glad, because when I keep going with it, I start to like it again. Yes, I keep finding things I want to change, or add, or snip out entirely, and it’s definitely not forming into its final shape. But this method, of just rolling through to the end, is a road of discovery. With each rambling paragraph or nonsensical plot turn I learn about the characters and the story and the world. I realize that one person’s motivations have to change because she’s not who I thought she was at the beginning, or that technology has to be different because it better suits the story and the world view of the characters.
Maybe my story doesn’t have a good shape yet, but writing in this way, not stopping until I discover my middle and my end, is helping me to plot through all the different bits so I start to see what that shape will be when I’m done.
Hey WriMos, find me and friend me! I love stalking other people’s progress.