Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The NaNoWriMo Insanity Begins!



NaNoWriMo started on Monday, and I began with a bit of a rough start.

I spent the entire month of October plotting and sketching my mystery novel in my head and jotting down notes everywhere. Halloween night I finally wrote a basic synopsis, showing me the entire story from beginning to end. Then, I created the outline of basic plot points including a few notes on what information was necessary to include in each scene and leaving out any major details. This way I could really experience the creative process.

It felt good to have the story staring back at me, but for some reason it didn't feel right. My nervousness began creeping in. The 2,000 words I planned to write on Monday were weighing heavily on me. Questions prayed on my already weakening confidence, leading me to think I wasn't up for the challenge.

Does my story make sense? Am I going to be able to make it to the end of the month with 50,000 words written? What if I make it to the end with a terrible story that needs to be thrown away?

Well, Monday came and I didn't get any writing done. I was so embarrassed. I spent the day catching up on my blogs, updating attractions listings for my internship, and anything else to avoid writing. I needed a change of scenery, so I took a shower.

As the water warmed me up, I realized my story lacked an element of surprise. Was this why I couldn't write? And then, it came to me! I knew the final, surprise ending to the story. After I was dressed, I went back over my outline trying to find areas to drop clues. By the time I decided to sit down and get some words down, I was exhausted. I typed 16 words, saved it, and went to bed.
Tuesday, I finally got a good amount of writing done. I realized after I started writing I needed to put my outline and character sketches on index cards. It was frustrating going back and forth from different Word documents to find information I needed to incorporate in the story.
Then, my doubt was back. This is my first time really diving into a large writing project, and I was really scared. I’ve never written a novel or anything close in length before, and I was concerned I would make it to the end of my novel short on words. Before this challenge, I spent my time responding to prompts with 500 word limits. To top it all off, I couldn't keep my eyes from moving down the page every five minutes, finding the word counter at the bottom, wishing it will magically increase.
I was also fighting an urge to write my chapters and go back to fill in details, but I’m not supposed to stop writing or go back to make changes. Pumping out a novel? More like dragging it out from under the bed, kicking and screaming. So, I decided to keep a writing journal, with lists of concerns, frustrations, doubts, and ideas in a separate document. Clearing my head of all the bad Mojo stalling me.
The journaling allowed me to point out flaws in my writing. I noticed I was writing a bare bone story, leaving out important sensory details. If I kept this up, my fears of failure would become reality.
An hour later, I was surprised. My flow of writing improved. The journaling alerted my subconscious to fix the problems as I continued to write. Details found their way into my writing, as well as a few unintentional foreshadowings.
The excitement helped me get into the story, strengthening my connection to the plot and improving the character development. Now, my story was guided by independent 3-demensional characters, instead of uninteresting, flat ones.
I finished at 12:44 am, writing 3, 269 words. I am not entirely sure how to avoid rushing or dragging out the exposition, I know I'm behind in word amount, but I need to write whatever comes out and stop psyching myself out. 

Out self-sabotaging thoughts! 

 Welcome positive and inspirational thoughts.

Here's a quick glance at my basic synopsis, sans ending:
Lexi Andrews, a woman approaching her 30’s, finds her store manager of Gourmet Chef lying in a pool of blood with a carving knife protruding from his chest. The police are called to the scene, but all Lexi can remember is seeing a flash of red when she returned to the sales floor from trash collection in the storeroom. Investigations look into a recently fired employee who was seen arguing with the victim after the store closed, an angry, self-entitled super-mom the victim humiliated during a turkey carving demonstration, and the victim’s jealous boyfriend, who’s finger prints were found on the knife. Lexi’s personal struggles are compressed with the shock and tragedy of losing her friend and coworker. Someone is following her; death threats are left on her car, boiling down to a fatal fight.




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