Saturday, October 23, 2010

Preparing for NaNo

...Or not. I have no idea what to do to prepare to write a book. I've always just written them. I start somewhere, usually with a single scene, and then keep writing. Where I start is not usually the beginning - in fact, I have in one case written the end before I even thought what might happen earlier. That book's not finished, and may never be at this stage. With Assignment 9, I started somewhere that's now toward the middle of the 4th section, and where I started with Holding it Together, is a scene that no longer exists in the MS. Prayer and Prey began as a short story that wouldn't stop growing, and the story began more than halfway through what is now the novel.

So the idea of trying to write a novel in sequence bothers me a little. I don't know if I can do it. But I'm up for the challenge. I'm also planning to write in chapters, something I've never done before, probably because I've never written in sequence. It will be interesting to see if the more structured approach, and more linear approach, makes a difference. Certainly, I hope to avoid the boring part of trying to make all the little bits and scenes I've written fit together as I reach the end of the book.

I think the advantage of writing fast is that you get momentum. You don't have time to pause and think too much about why or how characters are doing the things they do. And hopefully by writing in sequence, the events will spring naturally from one to the next. I guess each chapter is like a short story, although rather than concluding, they need to end with a hook leading into the next chapter. Or, since I'm going to be writing from two first person POVs, maybe the hook at the end of each narrator's chapter will lead into the one following the next... Hmmmm..... Things to think on. I'm not deluded enough to think the book will be done by the end of November. If I'm lucky, I'll have a good first draft to work on. Or a flawed and messy first draft. Or perhaps an unfinished mess. We'll see.

Is anyone else planning to write in a new and different way during this year's NaNo? How do you usually write your books?


  1. My students are participating in the Young Writers NaNo, and I'll be living vicariously through them.

    I'm learning to write fast instead of editing as I go, but right now it's like pulling teeth. Old habits, I guess...

  2. I have that problem too. Have to really force myself not to read over everything I've written each time I sit down in front of it again.