“and if i should die
god forbid that i
pass away with ideas left in limbo
in creative purgatory”
Brian Vander Ark

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Day 15: Turning Point
Thu 2007-11-15 17:23:52 (in context)
  • 28,244 words (if poetry, lines) long

I think this novel, unlike last year's, will actually wrap up in 50K or shortly thereafter. I know this because today, in between 24K and 28K, I reached the midbook climax.

This scene is definitely not one of the boring bits. Not to me. It's one of the scenes that I go over and over again in my head when thinking about writing the novel. This, in terms of Joseph Campbell's oft-quoted thesis, is the "refusal of the call" scene. This is where the not-so-imaginary friend gets far too real, and the MC has to repudiate it/him/her. It/him/her is effectively banished now, but it/etc./etc. has already managed to impart a portion of the deadly gift it needs to bestow. The supernatural powers which the MC has inherited from her mother are now available to her; the knowledge of them, alas, not yet. Which is an accident waiting to happen. Which is the next not-boring-bit in the plot. Which, unfortunately, can't happen for at least 10K and 3 months of story time, or else the pacing goes all to hell.

Appropriately enough, today's Real Author Pep-Talk was exactly about this.

Explanation: This year, Chris Baty asked a handful of published authors to write pep-talks for all us NaNoWriMo participants. These pep-talks are being emailed out at strategic intervals, their topics coinciding with the time of the month. We received a pep-talk from Tom Robbins on Nov 1, and it was all about the excitement of starting the novel. On Nov 6, we got one from Naomi Novik, and it was full of strategies for keeping up the daily writing routine even after the Day 1 excitement fades. Sue Grafton's pep-talk was about beating back those creeping insecurities that appear in the vacuum left when that excitement does fade.

Today, we got Sara Gruen's pep-talk about how to get that excitement back: by writing the fun bits first.

It's a strategy that's really made me appreciate novel outlining in general and Spacejock Software's yWriter in particular. Not that you can't skip to the fun bits without an outline or a software application that encourages creating each scene before writing it, of course. But if you do take the time to outline or to create chapter and scene files in yWriter, you'll end up knowing where all the fun bits are--as well as all the "and then something unspecified happens and takes up a month of plot time" bits. (Knowing where those are is also good. It enables you to figure out what that unspecified something actually is.)

The other nice thing about Writing The Fun Bits is, those bits are fun. Duh. Sorry. What I mean is, them being fun to write has another nice effect besides getting the writer unstuck. They also tend to result in the writer writing a lot. I meant just to get to 25K and stop today. As you can see, I went about 3K longer. Whoo! All caught up and stock-piled for the future!

Of course, the bits that are fun to write accrue extra words because we linger over them. About 1,500 words are probably going to get edited out of that scene. It needs to not go on so long or be so very repetitively explicit. But editing doesn't happen in November. I wrote those words. That's all that matters.