My NaNo experience was going great, for about two weeks, then I hit a wall. A massive structure made of solid stone that stood towering over me and my tiny keyboard. Now what? That was the question.
I believe books are broken up into three sections, the beginning, the middle, and the end. During NaNo, I got through what I consider to be the beginning. Often, this tends to be the first 100 pages of a book where all the story set up and character introductions are made. The middle is what happens after all of that other stuff is established, you know, the actual adventure, only I hit that plot wall where I lost sight of the story. Now what?
I didn’t know how to answer that question because I didn’t know where I went wrong. During NaNo they always tell you to keep pushing on and don’t go back and edit. Well, I didn’t really want to go back and edit my prose, I wanted to go back and figure out where my story veered off course. Why were my characters not talking to me? Why could I not see the path that should be laid out before their feet? So for the entirety of week three, I didn’t write. I mulled this issue over until week three bled into week four and I still had not written any new words.
Finally, during week five after two weeks of letting this problem stew at the back of my mind I asked myself a 'what if' question. What if one of my most prominent secondary characters dies in chapter one? Then the flood gates opened and all these new possibilities started to form. This was part of the issue I was having, I had a character that is essential to the story but at the same time his presence was stealing the organic discoveries away from my MC’s. He knew too much and I couldn’t justify his not giving this information freely but my MC’s couldn’t know yet! Every time he was in a scene it just became an info dump and I could not have that. He had to go.
To all of you non-writers out there, we do not always kill characters to break your tender hearts; often we kill them out of necessity to move the story forward. So now, my friends, I will be going back to chapter one and rewriting the ending with a tragic death to propel my characters forward and hopefully this will fix my ‘what now’ issue.
As for NaNoWriMo, I did not reach 50,000 words though I was well on my way before I crashed into that plot wall. I do think that the overall experience does give you a sense of what it would be like to be a professional writer with deadlines. Though, admittedly, having a full time job among other life responsibilities makes it much more difficult to hit those word goals. I do think that it was a great experience that gave me a great springboard to completing the rest of this novel. Wish me luck!
My final word count: 16,837
That's a wrap! NaNo is done until next year! Congrats to all who participated and thank you to all of those who guest blogged! Don't forget to check out my new blog series titled 'The First Hundred Pages.' The first post will go up this week!