Oct
2009

No Plot? No Problem! Chapters Three – Eight

Wow, what the heck have I been doing that I haven’t blogged about NPNP for a while?

Work.

So, here we go. When we last left our novelist-to-be, she was rallying the troops for support, agonizing over the idea that she can write a novel in 55 hours, but realistically thinking that 1667 words per day might be do-able.

On to the next piece. Chapter Three offers tips on places to write – and how to write in those places. For example, if one can’t afford the chalet in Paris, then, writing at home might be the next best thing. But those distractions. Oh, those distractions. The solution? Isolate oneself from the temptations. Some people write better in coffee shops – lots of outlets, no one sneers at you if you hang out for 2, 5, 10 hours a day, and there’s quiet background music.

Other viable places (because people have done it): libraries, bookstores, the gym, pubs and bars, cheap motel rooms. What these places offer that home and trendy coffee shops might not: quirk, interesting people. (Although, you might find that at home, too.)

Chapter Four asks us to look at what we like in novels (our Magna Carta I) and what we don’t (our Magna Carta II). For example, I like zingy language and short zippy chapters. I dislike a lot of boring prose and having the protagonist be an orphan (overdone much!). These are gentle reminders of what we find interesting and what might help us plod through our novel without too much pain.

A quick reminder from Chapter Four (in Patti-esque language): if you write, the plot will come.

Chapters Five – Eight are about the four weeks of NaNoWriMo. The highs, the lows, the madness, the frustration, the giddiness.

Week One is the honeymoon phase. Life is great, the novel is great, and this is a great idea. Write as much as possible to get a “bank” of word count ready.

Week Two is the slam of reality. Life is trying to wiggle back in. The elusive 1667 words per day seems impossible. This is when we tend to give up – like the whine of a 10-year old kiddo, we exclaim: “it’s tooooooo haaaaaard.” We tend to lose word count this week – building up a debt.

Week Three finds us at a less-than-optimal word count (we should have 35,000 at the end of week 3). However, this is when we find our groove-thang again and can let ‘er rip! Have fun. Let the words flow, even if they make no sense, don’t move the plot, or describe a gnat in excruciating detail. The goal is 50,000 words, not the Great American Novel (at least not yet).

Week Four can be exhaustive. The holidays are here (Turkey Day) and family obligations may take over. Or our bodies are physically exhausted and sore and we’re cranky. Use eye drops, walk around, stretch, get away from the keyboard or pen and paper – you can collapse and sleep for days on end at the end of the month.

Then CELEBRATE!!! Baty recommends champagne or beer. I recommend whatever makes you happy – and perhaps something you have been neglecting these past few weeks. Take the kids to the zoo, eat a brownie, go for a run, see friends, see relatives, heck, go see a movie. The world went on without you – join it again.

And thank those who supported you. Let them know that you’re back – and that the editing process won’t be as bad as this month was. And get them on board for next time. There will be another NaNoWriMo. And another. And another after that.

Tomorrow (or some semblance thereof) I will finish up Baty’s book with Chapter Nine – what to do with your novel after you’ve “won” NaNoWriMo.

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