And we arrive at the last of my NaNo Pitfall posts... I hope you enjoyed them all.
:cue tightrope music:
With tomorrow fast approaching - a little too fast, if you ask me - we come to the ninth and final pitfall of the year...
NaNo Pitfall #9 - The Fine Line
Sure, you've written loads of words. Hopefully they've worked together
and made a somewhat cogent story with coherent characters. All this
time you've been creating, though, you've been walking a fine line
between needing to get x-number of words on paper and making those words
work as a logical story.
Maybe you plotted the story out ahead of time. If you did, you probably
don't need to read this post. Your word count and your storyline are
probably running parallel. Congratulations.
Me? I rarely plot out anything. Therefore, the fine line I walk
sometimes isn't any thicker than frog's hair. I'm sure when I look back
over those scenes, I'll be asking myself "What the hell were you
thinking here?" Sometimes I'll be able to figure it out. Other times
I'll read a scene and never be able to discern what I was going for.
(Here's hoping this book has more of the former than the latter, eh?)
Why is this a pitfall? Because as we reach the final words for NaNo and
thus the final scenes for our books, we need to be able to remember all
those threads we created over the past month and weave them to their
natural conclusion. And that, my friends, can totally stop you in your
Hence, the Pitfall. See? I knew I'd wrap it together somehow...
As I was laying in bed last night, once again battling my subconsious
for some snooze-time, my brain was racing through all the threads. With
only a few thousand words left, am I absolutely sure I wrapped up the
thread about Nigel? Am I bringing the whole thing with the dog to a
logical conclusion? Is the dastardly killer getting what he deserves or
should I insert another twist that will carry through to the subsequent
books in the series? And what about that weirdo being who crept into
the fight scene? Did I really introduce a hint of romance, and what the
hell am I going to do about THAT?
Needless to say, my brain was on overdrive and I woke up this morning
not knowing what the hell to do with the next few scenes. I could wrap
it all up with a pretty bow for now and fix it later. On the other
hand, I could write a dozen more scenes to explain... Bleh, I hate
reading pages of things the writer should've already explained. Or, I
could stop what I'm doing and go back - rereading and editing until I
can finish the end.
See? This could conceivably stop me in my tracks inches from the finish
line. Will it? Nah. I'm just using myself as an example. If this is
happening to you, though, you might not be able to get past this
Pitfall without a litte nudge. Here's what I'm going to do.
Take the bit in my teeth and run like hell.
Probably not the advice you were expecting. Definitely not the best
advice for writing the end of your story any other time of the year.
This is NaNo, though. Right now, thinking about loose ends is only
going to stall your progress.
Am I advocating writing 5000 words of nonsense?? Certainly not. I
mean, it's still going to be part of your story. What I'm saying is,
get the words out and worry about tying it all up later. That's what
editing is for. So what if I introduced some threads five chapters ago
that I now realized I never fully finished? I'll catch them all when I sit down
Sorry if this wasn't the post you were expecting. I didn't edit this
any more than I'm editing my work right now. Plus, my brain is the
equivalent of pumpkin puree. Maybe soon I'll write a post on the mush
my brain turns into after writing so many words in one month.
Have a great day, everyone. Tune in tomorrow for what I hope will be a less meandering post.