Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tweaking the Plan

I'm torn between two lovers: my revision-in-progress, with two outstanding requests, and National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, which starts in just ten days.

The revision is going well from a certain standpoint. However, doing what needs to be done to to improve the story has meant cutting almost fifteen thousand words in the past two weeks. Of course I am adding words, too, but the word count is increasing very slowly. At this point, I might as well admit there is no way I will have a completed manuscript by my self-imposed October 31st deadline.

Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am more than ready for a fresh start. In the three years that have passed since I started writing The Wishing Box, I have learned much about craft and am chomping at the bit to put those skills to work. However, in order to be successful, I realize that I need a plan. I have discovered that I am neither a "pantser" nor a "plotter" but more of a "puzzler." And if I am going to end up with a novel worth finishing on November 30th, I need to do some prep work.

Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, has written a couple of books to help writer wannabes. I read No Plot, No Problem a couple of years ago; recently, my writer pal Shawn presented me with a copy of Ready, Set, Novel which I am eager to dig into. This blog post seems to be kind of a condensed version of Ready, Set, Novel. It's all good stuff.

Regardless of which approach I use, though, I need to set aside a few days to gather my thoughts, decide what my story is going to be about, get to know my characters, and outline key scenes before midnight on Halloween night. So I am revising my #ROW80 goals to reflect that. This evening, I will put the final sheen on the first three chapters of The Wishing Box and submit them to the agent who requested them at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. Then I will set that project aside and spend the next ten days building momentum for my NaNoWriMo novel, which just might turn out to be the book that actually lands me a publishing contract.

18 comments:

Melissa Crytzer Fry said...

What fun, Pam, to start something fresh. I believe that, sometimes, walking away is the best thing we can do for our novels. That perspective when we DO come back is often so revealing and helpful for the 'final push.'

Nicole Nally said...

I know exactly how you feel with the whole being torn between two things thing. In fact I'm torn between several. You're right though in needing to step away from one and start another. There's always a chance that in writing something new problems with your current book will click into place.

Good luck with NaNoWriMo.

Pam Asberry said...

That is very encouraging, Melissa. I would love to think that I will have TWO novels to show for all my hard work at the end of the year. :-)

Pam Asberry said...

The biggest mistake I made with my first book, Nicole, was writing it without a plan. That method might work for some people but it didn't work well for me. Never again!

alberta ross said...

I seem to be a puzzler:0 bit of a plan - characters well known to me and then incidents and episodes written then sorted later - seems to work - I have two WIP on back burner now as I clear decks for nanao but hoping over Dec with NaFiNoMo to finish one of them at least - all the best:)

Pam Asberry said...

It is good to know this method is working for you, Alberta. I added you as a buddy on the NaNoWriMo site; I'm looking forward to cheering you on! :-)

Jess said...

It's hard to choose, sometimes, but getting that fresh start on a new project can clear the mind. Looking forward to making it through NaNo with you!

Pam Asberry said...

Me too, Jess! Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :-)

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

You and I are in the same spot. My goal was to finish and polish WIP #2 before starting #3 for NaNo. I'm still on track for finishing, but that would mean sacrificing the time to plan #3. Such a dilemma! Best of luck with your submission!

~Debbie

Pam Asberry said...

The happiest moment of my day was when I gave myself permission to set "The Wishing Box" aside and gear up for NaNoWriMo. That's how I know I made the right decision. Hope all goes well for you the rest of this month, and good luck in November!

Carol Kilgore said...

I'm working on two projects now, too. I find myself going from one to the other, but I think/hope my life is getting ready to calm down a little. If so, maybe I can find real time for each. One is first draft and one is reworking an existing novel.

Good luck!

Pam Asberry said...

Maybe working on two projects simultaneously is the best plan, Carol. During NaNoWriMo, I will do well to complete 50,000 words of a new project. But after that, I might experiment with alternating between old and new. Good luck to you, too!

S.M. Carrière said...

Two projects might just be the way to go. Sometimes a change is as good as a holiday. If you get stuck on one, you can work on another and vice versa.

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I shall be cheering you on all the same!

Good luck on your submission!

Pam Asberry said...

I will miss seeing your smiling face on the NaNoWriMo site, S.M., but as always I appreciate knowing you are there on the sidelines waving your pompoms! :-)

Kim Switzer said...

I love the thrill of starting a new story! All the possibilities! Best of luck with NaNo.

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Kim! I am really starting to get psyched up about it! :-)

Tia Bach said...

I love your puzzler comment. I wrote my first novel over 10 years and as the Muse graced me. I didn't outline or plan, just went with it.

Now I'm doing my first NaNo, and I'm terrified. I am making out some note cards, but I'm finding it difficult.

But I keep telling myself, better to have 30,000 words at the end of November and "fail" than not to try at all. ;-)

Pam Asberry said...

Exactly, Tia. Welcome to NaNoWriMo! I encourage you to get plugged into your local NaNoWriMo community, attend write-ins, etc. They are very motivational. Best of luck!