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November 13, 2004

NaNoWriMo Novel Catch-up Update « Writing »

Well, I didn't write any more on Thursday, and I didn't write at all on Friday...

But then today I sat down and did 1800 words in about 2 hours while I sat at the bookstore with my kids.

I figured out exactly why she felt she couldn't or shouldn't put the gun down. It is, in fact, turning out to be a modern take on Mike Hammer or something. At least it is turning out to be twisty detective novel with a fairly cynical main character. I considered making it a science fiction novel, but rejected that idea.

In any case, it got twisty pretty quick and is going pretty good. When I ended last, I had no idea what was going to happen in the next paragraph. Now I've got it extended out to about the next few pages...but still don't know what's going to happen in the next chapter.

It's kind of interesting to write this way. It's more like some of the best adventures I ran back in my roleplaying days, when the only things I knew were the characters, the setting, and the fact that I wanted the "good guys" to win in the end. What seemed to work in those days was just throwing more and more obstacles in their paths, letting them succeed with one obstacle only to encounter a bigger one next, sometimes arising from the success on the previous one.

I guess what I find most interesting is that this is the way books unfold as you're reading, but I always thought that you were supposed to have a novel pretty much plotted before you start. And yet, one of my favorite authors apparently has a sign over his writing desk that says something like, "I'm going to tell you something cool today," and that's how I seem to developing this novel. I think I can still work in subplots and character development.

And if it doesn't turn out, well, I've abandoned better novels than this from not knowing what to do or where to go. At least with this one I haven't invested months of planning and musing.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out if I want to share it with you as I write it. I'm thinking I don't want to for two reasons. First, I hope to sell it one day, and while having about 200 people have an advance shot at it wouldn't hurt sales at all, there may be legal problems with having an earlier version of it "published" on my blog. Second, and less selfishly, I've already gone back and added a sentence or two and changed some stuff in the opening paragraphs, and I will probably continue to tweak it over time, so reprinting only what I've most recently written won't include the changes/improvements on earlier parts, or else will quickly become so long as to be unwieldy to keep putting on the blog.

So unless someone comes up with a very compelling argument and a decent plan to make keeping you up to date easy and simple for everyone involved, you'll just have to live with the earlier tidbit until I get the dang thing published.

I do promise that if I end up leaving it for dead, I'll email what I have done to any who requests it...maybe a suggestion or two could help me resurrect it? Or perhaps someone would want to finish it and we could try to publish it as a collaboration? But I'll burn that bridge when I come to it, and with luck it won't even become an issue because I'll finish it and then skip happily off into the beautiful sunset to cash my royalty checks. Heh.

Oh, and while I'm doing this for NaNoWriMo, I'm not expecting to finish it by the end of the month at all. I'm too far behind and just can't put out that kind of volume each day. But if I get momentum going, finishing it before the new year would still make me inordinately pleased.

Posted by Nathan at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)
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