Friday, November 11, 2011

Looking Back To Move Ahead

 I didn’t write any words on Thursday because frankly, I was stuck.

 I had written to the point where my characters meet each other again after twenty years and a full life. The next section seemed too difficult, considering the fact that I didn’t have a firm grasp on my hero’s personality. 

I decided that I would have to go back and read the manuscript that I had written before. Using the search feature, I looked for his name: Caldwell. I found some interesting things. The man I had been calling Caldwell as his first name and had made up a last name because I didn’t believe I’d ever given him one in the first book, actually turned out to be named Brandon Caldwell. Except later in the book when he magically became Erich Caldwell.

That’s how it goes with NaNoWriMo – once I get going, I don’t like to stop, so many times I end up with different names, eye and hair colors changing, and a wide variety of symbols in place of things or places. @@@@find name of estate for this family or &&&& research foods that would have been served at a country dance, etc. You get the idea.

The most frustrating for me, is that by the time I get to 50,000 words, it is usually around Thanksgiving and I am ready to take a well deserved rest. I send in my manuscript to verify my word count and print off my award certificate. Then I put the story out of my head.

Unfortunately, 50,000 words is a little short for the stories I write. I naturally tend to wrap my stories up between 65,000 and 75,000 depending on the depth and layers in the plot. Which leads to the frustrating part. 

Several months after nano, I usually start thinking that I’d like to read that story that I wrote back in November.

So, I read, and I even amaze myself that clever words and well formed sentences and fully developed scenes have resulted from writing like a mad woman for thirty days. I live again through the character’s eyes, the story that came from my heart.

Then I get to the 50,000 mark and the story ends. At least the words end. The story does not.

I know at the time I was writing, I knew the planned ending, but months later, sometimes it’s hard to piece it together.

So, this year, I’m going to try to keep writing until I’ve finished the story even if it is an extra ten thousand words or more. I’ll be happy with 50,000, but I’ll be happier with a completed draft.

I just have to remember that Miranda deserves her HEA in this book, just as much as she did in the first one.

My goal for today was to pass the 20,000 mark and make that little stats line go above the goal line. I did that by writing 5230 words to get to 20,040.