NaNoWriMo - Week Three
That was a close one!
I almost did it, I almost quit. I opened the forbidden envelope, which, to be honest, was quite a shock to me. I could not believe it when my hands actually began to tear open that terrible looking red sleeve, with the shameful words 'I Quit' emblazoned across it. The first week had gone so well that I never imagined that I would even think about opening it.
Why did I open the envelope? Well, I sat and wrote seventeen hundred words last night and when I had finished I could not remember what I had written. I had not been able to think of a way to advance the plot at all, so I had just chosen a random character, and let them have their way. The result was a see-sawing mess that I could not see any way out of. And it made me lose the thread of the story too, so that I could not find a place to go back to and pick up from. In short, I believed that all was lost. The story was dead in the water, and there was nothing I could do to revive it.
So I did it, I opened the 'I Quit' envelope. I cannot tell you what the letter inside said, because it's top secret. But I can tell you that I will not be quitting. I have only twelve days left, and I am behind schedule by quite a bit now. In those twelve days I have to find twenty-five thousand words. (What on Earth am I doing writing hubs when I've got half a novel to come up with?!)
I don't know how this happened. I was well ahead with my word count at the end of Week Two, the story was getting a bit thin, but I was still enjoying it. But then I got complacent, and missed a couple of evenings of writing (okay, so I've got some pretty big family things going on, it's possible that I'm being a little hard on myself - my mum still says that I should tag those missed days onto the end, since I couldn't have anticipated them and couldn't avoid them; but that would feel like cheating to me.) It's so easy to fall behind - the speed with which it happened to me was astonishing. But gosh, even if I write two thousand words a day from now until the end, I still won't meet the target! Two and a half thousand a day should do it...
But hang on, I made the 30-hubs-in-30-days challenge, by the skin of my teeth, so maybe I can do this one too. I don't like the thought of failing, especially at the one thing I'm quite good at.
To be honest with you, as I must, now that I am writing this, that all seems a bit pathetic, to consider giving up just because I've hit a bit of a snag. That's precisely why I haven't finished a draft of anything yet, and precisely why NaNoWriMo is perfect for a writer such as myself, because it forces me to continue and to work through the difficulties. This is the tough stuff that writing is all about - it's about time I faced it like a grown up instead of running and hiding every time my mind goes a little blank. Do I want to be a novelist or not? Of course, I do, do I'd better stop snivelling.
I wrote two thousand words this morning, and although they were not up to the standard of Week One, they were better than the work from the beginning of this week. Much better. I tried to remember what my thoughts were about the plot on Day One, and that helped. I was able to identify where I had started to go off track, and then I began to bring it back to where it should be at this stage.
Word-count-wise, I am over half way. But in terms of how far along in the story I have progressed, I am still near the beginning. I seem to have an annoying trait that likes to come up with huge stories. I would quite like it if a fifty thousand word novella would present itself to me, with just a couple of complications and a handful of characters. I have such a tendency to overcomplicate and overload, and I need to practice bringing the whole thing down a few notches. Or perhaps not, perhaps I should allow myself to write epics.
Now I will work towards bringing the story together and tying it up at the end with a pretty bow. I will have to leave lots of the story out in order to do that, but I think it will be the best thing for me to do. I have never yet drafted the close of a story, and I would like to know what that feels like. I will work towards it now. (Hmm, looks like I am going to have to make that decision about who the murderer actually is... well, maybe I'll decide that tomorrow.)