Here's the next Pitfall for all you NaNo racers - reposted from 11/17/09:
NaNo Pitfall #6 - Writing Yourself Into a Corner
Also, it should be noted that writing for NaNo is not necessarily the way one should write all the time. This is a race, and while it does help build skills - like writing faster to meet a deadline - it might deepen some bad habits. I'm going to try and have a series on editing NaNo mistakes after this month is over, so bear with me.
As for today's NaNo Pitfall, the picture pretty much says it all: "I've written myself into a corner and there's no way out." (Of course, the flames* are all in our heads, but you get the gist.)
So, here I am, writing along and I've reached a point in the story where I feel like I've written myself into a corner. My MC is stuck and there doesn't really seem to be a way out. Which is why my word count for yesterday was so low I didn't even bother to post it - I just wrapped it into today's count.
Yes, this is similar to the Pitfall "Ack! I'm Lost!", but I'm not lost. I know where I need to go, but getting there might be a bit messy. Other than stepping back across the fresh paint and not only messing up what I've already covered, I could fall and go splat.
This isn't the first time this has happened. In fact, it's happened so many times now that I look at it as a challenge. My subconscious painted me into a corner, and now I have to find a way to extract myself without ruining my work. Or to put it another way, I have to find the window to climb out of.
No matter how tight your corner is, there's always a window. Like the video game pictured above, there's always a way out. (Although I'm not sure how one would get the guy across a flaming pit of doom, but there has to be a way, or the programmer wouldn't have put the challenge there.) Of course, the only way may be something so off the wall, you might balk at writing it. Write it anyway. At the risk of boring you with repetition: Write it now, edit it later.
And then, there's always the chance that no matter how bizarre it might seem before you write it, it'll work once you finish it. I've had that happen before. Sometimes weird stuff happens - not often unless you're writing SF, F or P but hey, look around the world at the strange shit going on every day.
As always, for November, it's not whether every word in your story makes sense. It's getting those words out so you have something to work with later. So, open a window, crawl through a mousehole, open a rift in the time/space continuum if you have to, but get 'er done.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a ladder to fashion so I can crawl up through the ceiling. The smell of all this paint is making me dizzy. ;o)
*Picture deleted due to potential copyright infringement. The image was from the old Pitfall video game and showed the main player character at the edge of a fiery pit he had to get across.