NaNoWriMo, Day Nine & Summary of the Week

Over the weekend, we lost Internet (and the phone line) for roughly 24 hours, and I got sick with a cold.  Great for productivity, right?

Well.  This cold left me feeling particularly…fuzzy, and I couldn’t concentrate.  So I mostly bundled up under a blanket (it’s actually getting cold! sort of!) and wrote basically nothing.

However, on Friday, I came to a conclusion that I was going about my writing, and even NaNoWriMo, wrong.  See (prepare for random tangent), I have two methods for brainstorming.  Method A = rambling at friends until they get sick of me or I bore myself or I come up with a solution.  Or all three at once.  Method B = scribble on my whiteboard.

Method A is great when you aren’t writing a sequel that’s full of spoilers you don’t want to spoil.  So, I spent the first week trying to figure things out without brainstorming at all, and I kept getting stuck and feeling frustrated.  Then it occurred to me that I forgot about Method B.

So I went and grabbed my headphones and cleared off my whiteboard and brainstormed.

I started by writing down everything that my “primary protagonist”, as I’ll call him since he seems to be most important in this book, had to deal with.  Which was a lot, poor guy.  Then I started writing down the random plot twists that I’d already encountered, and how they led to other scenes, and how they affected other characters, and suddenly, I was afraid my whiteboard wouldn’t be big enough.  (I’ll be eternally grateful to anybody wants to buy me a whiteboard for Christmas.  Okay, just kidding.  I don’t need anything for Christmas.)

IMG_1077
I blurred it so nobody can read spoilers (or at least not as many). The red column, and the one black part at the bottom, are all of the things my main protagonist has to deal with. The two blue sections and the two black sections on the left are the other four characters, and you can see how much smaller THEIR problems are. And then the black column on the right are all of the major plot twists I’ve become aware of.

So after doing all of this, I came to a realization.  My goal for NaNoWriMo isn’t to write 50k, but to write enough to figure out where the story is going.

And look at that! Look at all I know now! Before November, I knew probably two or three things from that list.

Conclusion? If I had written this story chronologically, I wouldn’t have known half of what I’ve figured out now.  In other words, writing all of those random scenes that popped into my head (and then figuring out what scenes could result from it, and who it would affect and how and writing those) was actually probably for the best!  Granted, I only have ~7k out of my 30k, and I don’t think I’ll get a full 30k out of nothing but random, unconnected scenes, so at some point, I’m going to have to start writing the beginning and following it from there.  But for now, I think I’m doing pretty good.  In fact, if I didn’t write a single other word at all this entire month, I think I would have enough to write a vague outline and have almost enough to be totally satisfied.

How’s the writing going for everybody else?  Have you gotten to the Week Two Blues, as I think the NaNoWriMo staff often call them, or are you still going strong?

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4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo, Day Nine & Summary of the Week

  1. (It’s Kathleen Murphy from NaNo, who randomly appeared for a bit and then kind of disappeared)

    I definitely have the week two blues! I think I’ve written….20 words?
    I wanted to get to 20k…I’m changing it to 15k though because I’m only going to get busier.

    Also, I really like your whiteboard idea! Though, in all honesty, I’m trying to write a book that involves a girl traveling to her past, future, current, time, and then past again to try and change things. Sigh. Why do I write such complicated things? I think I need one of those ginormous blackboards they have here….Or I guess I could just paint my entire room in blackboard paint, which actually could be pretty cool.

    Anyways I am officially done rambling, and I just wanted to say again that I think that that is an awesome idea.

    1. I understand that… it gets hard. Good luck to you!

      Sounds like an even better reason to use a whiteboard! What I normally do is, when I find something complicated, I’ll write down what I know, and it helps me figure out what I don’t know, or what confuses me, and then I can just figure that out (often by rambling to myself on the whiteboard). Granted, having a tiny whiteboard just isn’t quite big enough often, hehe, and I have to practice writing small. (It helps that I’ve sort of developed my own shorthand.) Earlier, my mom was laughing at me because I was taping other random papers to the wall because my whiteboard was filled.

      I’m glad you like the idea, hehe! I love it. I wish you luck with NaNo! (And thanks for commenting.)

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