Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo Pitfall #1: Corollary - You Went Back

This one's new, folks.  I'll still be posting the original pitfalls as we go along, but from time to time, as things occur to me in this process, I'll be adding new ones and corollaries.

Pitfall #1: Corollary - You Went Back, Didn't You?

I know I said, 'never go back', but even the best of us can't help it.  Right now, I'm sitting at just under 7000 words worth of book*.  And like I suggested, I haven't gone back and read through it... well not more than the 1500 words I wrote before NaNo started, so that doesn't count.  (During which, I changed the MCs names and little else.)

Please note, however, that I said I haven't READ through it.  Just now as I was partaking of my morning brain/body warmup (i.e. the first cup of coffee, a smoke, and the first fingers of dawn), I went through what I'd already written - IN MY HEAD. 

In my defense, I was mentally flipping through what I'd already done to see where I could send the story now.  That didn't happen nearly as much as the finding of flaws.  If A happened here, then B has to happen there, and if B happens there, it's going to end up all C - which as we all know, sucks.  And don't even get me started on D, E, and F.  Argghh.

Now I have the urge to go back and fix some of the previous 7000 words (like 5500 worth). 

This is the point where I take my naughty mental self and slap her widdle paddies like I would a child reaching for the hot stove.  NO!  Or a smack her with a rolled up newspaper.  BAD GIRL!  LEAVE IT!

If you read Pitfall #1, you know I'm a firm believer in not going back.  Once you start second guessing your previous words and fixing them, you derail your ability to get the subsequent words on paper.  NaNo isn't about putting down a perfect first draft.  It's about putting down the words so you can actually have a completed first draft at some point. 

And it's about not letting anyone - including yourself - get in the way of that.

So, I will mentally file away the things that are bothering me about what I already wrote.  I'll try to steer the story away from those chasms so that when I finish I'll have less to fix.  I'll continue from here in hopes that I haven't made a tragic mess behind me.

Going back isn't fatal, folks.  Just recognize you did it and move forward.  The only real mistake is letting yourself get mired in the past words and not moving forward.

Now, get to work.  If you're participating, how many words do you have after Day 2? 

*My NaNo word count is at 5291 - even though my book is 6832 words long at this point.  I'm only counting the words I wrote after November 1st, so my counts at the site can be honest and accurate.  (In an Excel spreadsheet, because I am a nerd.) 


  1. Confession - I went back this morning and re-read every one of the 3627 words. I know I can't do that as we move forward - too many words, not enough time to read AND write - but I couldn't help myself today. THEN, I started editing! Yikes!!

    Fingers duly slapped - thanks. I have my notebook for making lists of possible flaws/issues/plot thickeners and my sticky notes for adding even more as I go. That's where I do my 'editing' and it's only brief and to the point.

    Sitting down to get some words done - got a steak and ale stew in the slow cooker, have received love and encouragement from my niece (who is getting the slop delivered to her in-box every morning to keep me motivated), and have eaten a hearty breakfast. Nothing stopping me - Just.Need.To.Turn.Off.The.Internet!

  2. Janet? TURN OFF THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!

    B.E. reviewing in your head is allowed. Or, this is where Scrivener is extremely helpful. You can jot down potential problems on the "note card" associated with that particular text/folder. Makes it easier to find when it comes time to edit.

    I have to finish a guest blog post and then I'm knuckling down and getting to the dirty. Action scenes coming up, and those are my favorites! I hope to rip out another 3-4K words today. *bounces on toes* I'm ready, Coach. Send me in! ;)


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