NaNoWriMo Diaries, Day 5: Finding the Character, Finding the Story

It's my first attempt at NaNoWriMo.  Previously, I've always been convinced that I wrote far too slowly to ever manage to 50K words in a month.  A month where I'm usually traveling, no less.

But this year I decided to go for it.  I just have a hunch that it might be the best way to attack my next novel.

Honestly, NaNo is great for pantsing since it forces you to write at a pretty break-neck speed. You can truly write and write until you discover your character and your story.  It isn't about getting the plot or pacing right.  It's about finding out who your character really is. What is making your character tick? Who is she and what is her heart's deepest desire?  And why does it conflict with the world around her?

And once you've figured all that out, you'll quickly find the heart of the novel.

So you just start writing.  Stuff happens.  It might be boring, it might be filled with info-dumps and dreadful dialogue.  But it's going somewhere.  It's your subconscious digging its way out of your dirt-filled brain and into the sunlight.  It might be harsh to look at, but what first draft isn't?

At some point, you find your voice.  Yee-haw! Keep writing to find the story.  And while you're doing it, throw in every cool idea you've got.  Some might fall flat, but that's okay too.

I've found that I get on a roll and am able to complete the word count, and then some.  But I also have moments (daily) where I wonder: wtf am I writing?  This is terrible! This is a boring, overdone, insipid idea! No one will want to read this!

When this happens, I read a few of the gazillion NaNoWriMo peptalks.  I love all the support from other writers.  Generally it boils down to the same thing: this isn't the time to be critical.  This isn't the time to judge. Your draft doesn't have to be elegant or even sensical.  (Well, maybe those outlining folks write something sensical.  I dunno.).

All you gotta do is have fun and write what inspires you.  That's the magic of NaNoWriMo.

The elephant in the room: how many words did you write today?