Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo Pitfall #9

And we arrive at the last of my NaNo Pitfall posts... I hope you enjoyed them all.

:cue tightrope music:

With tomorrow fast approaching - a little too fast, if you ask me - we come to the ninth and final pitfall of the year...

NaNo Pitfall #9 - The Fine Line

Sure, you've written loads of words.  Hopefully they've worked together and made a somewhat cogent story with coherent characters.  All this time you've been creating, though, you've been walking a fine line between needing to get x-number of words on paper and making those words work as a logical story.

Maybe you plotted the story out ahead of time.  If you did, you probably don't need to read this post.  Your word count and your storyline are probably running parallel.  Congratulations. 

Me?  I rarely plot out anything.  Therefore, the fine line I walk sometimes isn't any thicker than frog's hair.  I'm sure when I look back over those scenes, I'll be asking myself "What the hell were you thinking here?"   Sometimes I'll be able to figure it out.  Other times I'll read a scene and never be able to discern what I was going for.  (Here's hoping this book has more of the former than the latter, eh?)

Why is this a pitfall?  Because as we reach the final words for NaNo and thus the final scenes for our books, we need to be able to remember all those threads we created over the past month and weave them to their natural conclusion. And that, my friends, can totally stop you in your tracks.

Hence, the Pitfall.  See?  I knew I'd wrap it together somehow...

As I was laying in bed last night, once again battling my subconsious for some snooze-time, my brain was racing through all the threads.  With only a few thousand words left, am I absolutely sure I wrapped up the thread about Nigel?  Am I bringing the whole thing with the dog to a logical conclusion?  Is the dastardly killer getting what he deserves or should I insert another twist that will carry through to the subsequent books in the series?  And what about that weirdo being who crept into the fight scene?  Did I really introduce a hint of romance, and what the hell am I going to do about THAT?

Needless to say, my brain was on overdrive and I woke up this morning not knowing what the hell to do with the next few scenes.  I could wrap it all up with a pretty bow for now and fix it later.  On the other hand, I could write a dozen more scenes to explain...  Bleh, I hate reading pages of things the writer should've already explained.  Or, I could stop what I'm doing and go back - rereading and editing until I can finish the end.

See?  This could conceivably stop me in my tracks inches from the finish line.  Will it?  Nah.  I'm just using myself as an example.  If this is happening to you, though, you might not be able to get past this Pitfall without a litte nudge.  Here's what I'm going to do.

Take the bit in my teeth and run like hell.

Probably not the advice you were expecting.  Definitely not the best advice for writing the end of your story any other time of the year.  This is NaNo, though.  Right now, thinking about loose ends is only going to stall your progress.

Am I advocating writing 5000 words of nonsense??  Certainly not.  I mean, it's still going to be part of your story.  What I'm saying is, get the words out and worry about tying it all up later.  That's what editing is for.  So what if I introduced some threads five chapters ago that I now realized I never fully finished?  I'll catch them all when I sit down to edit. 

Sorry if this wasn't the post you were expecting.  I didn't edit this any more than I'm editing my work right now.  Plus, my brain is the equivalent of pumpkin puree.  Maybe soon I'll write a post on the mush my brain turns into after writing so many words in one month. 

Have a great day, everyone.  Tune in tomorrow for what I hope will be a less meandering post.


  1. Again - in my head! This is exactly what I'm going through right now as I try to wrap up NaNo with a 'win'. But I am not ready to wrap up the book, still have work to do on getting to 'the end', but it's time to get all the threads in order and weave something magical. I'm skeptical (as posted on my blog today - scary how insync we are, B.E.).

    Thanks for reviving the Pitfalls - they were a source of inspiration and relief (knowing I wasn't alone in my madness).

  2. I'm going to preface this by saying I don't think NaNo is a bad idea. However, that being said, I do have a problem with the "spew it on the page and edit it later" view-- at least, for me it doesn't work. Anytime where I've forced myself to "just write and edit it later" I end up getting stuck and LOATHING the scene. I know it's not a good thing, but I honestly can't seem to move on in the story if I know the previous scene is shit, lol. And even when I have made myself move on, when I come back to edit it later, it drives me perilously close to insanity. *shrugs* I'm working on it lol.

    Great posts, hun! =)

  3. I've been through the NaNo thing so many times, Janet, I can't help but be in your head, too.

    That's cool, Nat. Everyone writes in their own way. You can't imagine this way and I can't imagine editing as I go. And both ways are perfectly fine. =o)

    And thanks, both of you, for enjoying my Pitfalls posts.

  4. Dead on target! Sometimes, NaNo novels flow like the spring thaw, cascading and crashing over rocks and rapids until they hit the calm pool at the base of the mountain. Other times? Uhm...not so much. This year's project is very much the latter. It's a desert with odd puddles left over from a sudden downpour, puddles that have no connection and will likely be sucked up by the dry earth before I can find a cup to save the water in.

    Heh. I wish my story writing sounded that good. Off to work. 5K words to go. How I'd love to finish today and have to tomorrow to simply stare out the window, brain numb, ice packs on wrists, feet propped up and a cold beverage in my hand. Yeah. I'll keep dreaming that. ;-)

  5. Since I'm not doing NaNo, I have only to offer some cheers. Go BE! You can do it, pitfalls be damned!

  6. Love the imagery, Silver. Good luck with the final 5K. You can do it! And Aspercreme works wonders on the achy post-NaNo wrists. ;o)

    Thanks, Lydia! Smart advice for us all - pitfalls be damned!