Thursday, November 5, 2015

#NaNoWriMo2015 Diary -- Day 5

DAY 5 - Thursday, November 5, 2105

[NOTE: If you're confused because we went from the previous post (Day 2) to today (Day 5), don't be; I started NaNoWriMo2015 three days late; I decided to actually go for it and signed up on November 3rd. So my  Day 1 was actually Day 3. Get it? But we're caught up now and subsequent posts will match the correct corresponding day of the competition. Thank you. We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.]

Wound up going long yesterday and surpassed the required 6667 word count. I reached 7597 words.

There’s definitely pressure to get this book written, achieve my word count each day, and get back to my other WIP, which is a trilogy (and probably/hopefully a series). All 4 books MUST be done and out by Christmas in time for all the new e-readers and smart phones on which people will be excited to read new novels.

Also, for those interested in the craft side of things, I found myself outlining yesterday’s NaNoWriMo scene. It involved 3 people doing stuff in one house at the same time. It took a bit of back-and-forth to see who did what and when they did it, but the outlining made things easier. And perhaps it contributed to surpassing my word count. I used to be a pantser,  a writer who writes by the seat of his or her pants. But whenever I begin thinking about a new story/novel I want to tell/write, the story comes at me so fast that I really have no choice but to outline it, often messily, as quickly as possible in order to get as much of the story down as possible. Years and years ago, I read an article in Writer’s Digest Magazine written by or about Stephen King. The analogy he used at that time was one of an archaeologist unearthing fossils. The story is buried in the earth, ready to be uncovered and shared with the world. That is our job as writers. Stephen King said the more of the story he is able to unearth, the better it will be. Sometimes you use a back-hoe. Other times you’re on your knees with a little brush, trying to be as delicate as possible. The back-hoe is the outline. The little brush is moving individual words around and proofreading on the 25th read-through.

I guess the point is to try outlining if you’ve never tried it. The first draft of a story is there to tell yourself the story, right? Then you go back and fix stuff, clean it up, edit it, and proofread it, going over it about 25 times before you’re (mostly) ready to let someone else read it. Well, the outline has, for me, drastically improved that first draft experience. The reason is because while I’m outlining the story, all I’m thinking about is plot and character and story; I’m not concerned with crafting kick-ass poetic prose that would make Michael Chabon quit writing forever. Instead, I’m able to think about the STORY. Then, once I’ve reached the end of the outline and understand the whole arc of the book, I can go back and craft the prose. Because I know the story is already written down, there is no need for me to hold it all in my mind for a year the way it would be if I were writing by the seat of my pants.

This outlining process also allows one to write faster, thus one is able to write more books in the same amount of time. Imagine if you could write 3 or 4 books a year instead of one. Or maybe 5 or 6. Thriller writer Russell Blake does. He’s an indie writing/publishing MACHINE. And his writing career has blossomed because of it. The other thing is to make a writing schedule and STICK to it. NaNoWriMo is like boot camp for that very thing to be employed in one's future writing career. If you want to be a professional writer/novelist and want it to be your career, treat it as such and it will reward you accordingly. Treat it like a job you have to show up to every day. However, if you treat it like a hobby, it will pay like a hobby. And hobbies typically don't pay; they cost.

So, consider outlining as a means of improving not only your work but your experience and your ENJOYMENT of writing. Because if we’re not having fun, why do it?

Okay, back to NaNoWriMo2015.

Keep up the great work, everybody!

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