Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Is it December yet? I wanna start over

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as the kids call it, is all about getting words on the page (or the computer screen). Quantity over quality is emphasized, and participants are encouraged to resist their inner editor and save any major changes for December, for after it's over. I mentioned the other day that I was going to have a hard time doing that.

My NaNo novel this year is a superhero adventure, and it contains characters and elements that have been rattling around in my head for quite some time. Initially my concept was that this book would be a series of short stories,primarily the origins of the superheroes (and villains) that were loosely connected. The later in the book, the more connected the stories would become, until the final story of the book, which would be the culmination. The final battle. The defeat of the Big Bad.

The problem is that the stories written so far are so connected to each other it just feels wrong. Even though they're connected, POVs and story lines are switching so much it feels like it's a novel being written by a schizophrenic. I would never claim to be in perfect mental health, but I'm pretty sure I'm not schizophrenic. I've come to realize how to fix things, how to turn this into a novel with a coherent story line, an actual honest-to-the-Flying-Spaghetti-Monster main character, etc, etc.

So the urge to start over, with a clear outline for the new concept of this novel that I now have, is almost overwhelming.

But I'm not gonna do it. I've got in 11,307 words so far, so I'm over 1/5 of the way to the 50,000-word goal. I've still got more of these interconnected short stories to get out, and I'm gonna do just that. Once I get through those, I'll probably change it up and start re-forming the narrative to more closely match what I now realize is the superior way, but I'm not just going to throw away what I've already done or already have planned for the next few days. Will what I've got written make it into the final version of Breaking Paragons? Probably not. If it does, it certainly won't be in the form it is now.  But I'll have lots of good back story from which to draw to help me create this superhero world.

The most important lesson one can take away from NaNoWriMo is to just write every day (or almost every day). Without consistent work on an almost daily basis, most writers will never be successful. I've learned this lesson during every NaNo that I've done, but it's quickly forgotten, or put on a back burner. Hopefully my momentum this year won't leave me once December 1st rolls around, and I'll be able to share Breaking Paragons with you sometime in 2014.

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