Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Right Through.

About 5k ago I realized that I was on a dangerous road. I was leading my motley crew of four underdog characters straight into the heart of the opposition. Even if they were the most powerful, talented, amazing characters you had ever met, they were destined to lose.

It was sheer numbers.

Sometimes, in NaNoWriMo, when you've written yourself into a corner or you realize that you're going down a tangent that will never make it past the first draft, you're encouraged to write a one sentence transition --

"And then they rescued/killed/bamboozled the roommate/mob boss/Puff the Magic Dragon and found themselves back in New York City/Candy Land/a galaxy far far away."

While I was tempted to do just that, I couldn't. I've never been a writer who can jump around in her story. Even if I'm struggling for a detail, I don't just put [INSERT HENRY'S COMPANY HERE]. I pick a detail and continue. Half the time this means that I end up forgetting to go back and change the things I need to, but that's the way I do things.

I've hit a couple spots in my novel where I've thought, "This is a terrible idea. I know they say no deleting in NaNo, but clearly they had never run into an idea this abysmal. I'm about to solve the whole story/kill my main characters/introduce a dinosaur. This is really quite horrid."

But I've run with it. The only way out is through, right?

And the thing is, while running through plot points I will surely never revisit again, I've met characters and developed themes and expanded ideas that are creating the foundation of my story. When I realized I had written myself into a corner, that my ragtag band of four characters was about to storm a fortified citadel, I realized there was no way they could get in, get their friend, and get out alive. Not in a million years. I was really stressing about it, until I realized--

They don't get out. They are captured almost immediately. I mean, you'd have to be an idiot to try what they did, and it only made logical sense for them to fail. Which suddenly opened up so many questions for my characters. Was my protagonist really who she said she was? Were the other characters going to believe her anymore after this? Was she going to have any faith left in herself?

Every time I have powered through a difficult section, I have come away with useless plot but a richer story. Every time I force the story forward instead of avoiding it, I discover something new. And if that is all I get out of this month, if I have to rewrite my whole novel based on my month long investigation of these characters and their story, then I will be satisfied with NaNoWriMo, declare it a success, and then delve back in to rewriting the whole dang thing.

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