Friday, October 27, 2006

NaNoWriMo Take 3

Next week kicks off NaNoWriMo. I'm sure if you are reading this you already know that because everyone who even remotely writes is talking about it. I'm nothing if not unoriginal.

This will be my third NaNoWriMo attempt. Yes, I'm going to give it a shot. And I'm firmly refusing to dwell on past failures. This is the year I succeed. Hang on while I have a Stuart Smalley moment...Okay, I'm back.

My problem isn't so much that I can't manage to write 50,000 words in a thirty-day period. I can do that, no problem, especially given that the whole point of NaNoWriMo is quantity over quality. The objective is to crank out the volume, put any old junk on paper as long as you get it done, the idea being that you can go back after it's all over and rewrite and revise and edit your little heart out at your leisure.

Nope, quantity isn't an issue with me. Both the past two years I'd cranked out a good 20,000 plus words before the end of the first week. I'm wordy. When you remove quality from the equation, I'm downright prolific.

My problem right now is deciding which of my half a dozen ideas I should use. I hate to waste a good idea, one that requires twice the word count goal of NaNo to come close to finishing. Sure, I could double my daily output goal and shoot for 100,000 words in a month instead of 50,000. But I'd really like to finish this time, and I'm thinking I can do this if I hold myself back.

I do have an idea or two that could be told in 50k words. Ideas that aren't epical or full of a cast of thousands looking to be part of a series. Ideas that don't require tons of world building and subsequent world explaining.

Problem with those ideas is that I haven't done much in the background department. My characters are kind of loose, not really pinned down as far as backstory. I love to know my characters, and at this point I have names but not a whole lot more. Maybe a handful of basic character traits and an idea of who loves who...

Too, my plot ideas are really more like generic situations I'd like to explore. The kind of "what if..." questions that most writers find popping up all over the place. I don't have any outlines. I only have a handful of scene ideas. Truly, this baby could potentially wander all over the planet, aimless and out of control.

Maybe this is the best way to start. Kind of cold, without the pressure of having to stick to a specific plan, worrying about quality even though you aren't supposed to. If I know up front that my characters are mysteries and my plot isn't set in stone, theoretically there should be no staring at a blank screen, wondering how to translate the images in my head to words on a page.

And I do have four days to do a bit of planning.

I'm getting excited. What a great feeling!

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