“It’s been a promising beginning. In the last seven days alone, you’ve written a small novella’s worth of people and places. And you’ve felt the sexy click of your imagination as it locks on target, the muscly thrill of your bad-ass creative self rolling up its sleeves and wading into the fray.
…the cast has been introduced, the stage has been set, and everything is primed for the story to unfold.
…the next great stage – plot building – is upon us.” (pp. 119-120)
Q: What if I have no idea where my plot is going?
A: This is still OK. And it is very common. Baty advises, “I guarantee that if you meet your word count quota over the next seven days, you’ll have a much, much clearer idea of what your book is about by the end of the week.
…Plot is just the movement of your characters through time, over the course of your book.” (pg. 122)
Q: What if my main characters turn out to be boring and uninspiring, but an incidental character begins to seem fascinating?
A: “Demoting your hero from savior to sidekick and promoting some of your supporting characters to starring roles happens a lot in the figuring-it-out-as-you-go world of month-long novel-writing.” (pg. 122)
Put some strategic thought into this before you commit to it, but if it looks as if this will bring the story to life, then go for it.
Q:Help! I’ve fallen behind and I can’t catch up!
A: Again, this does happen, but there are some steps you can take to help you out. If you take a day off, try to make up the word count over the next couple of days. Then there are some creative ways to pad your writing. This is not only condoned, but encouraged by the NaNoWriMo community. It is a proven way of getting you to the finish line. Following is a list of wordy ideas from pg. 126.
- One of your characters develops a stutter and repeats words
- A character can’t hear and must have things repeated multiple times to get them
- Dream sequence or hallucination – can last a long time and doesn’t directly affect your story
- Citations – your character quotes poetry or reads out loud from a book, or sings a song…
- Extend your character’s name – e.g. if the character’s name is Buffy do a ctrl-F and replace all to Buffy Marie
- De-Hyphenate words – this may be grammatically incorrect, but it changes novel-writing from one word to two – novel writing (note: in Scrivener, this isn’t necessary, it appears to count each part of a hyphenated word independently already)
And now an encouraging interlude or in Monty-Pythonese, it is time for something completely different.
By William Edward Hickson
‘Tis a lesson you should heed–
If at first you don’t succeed,
Then your courage should appear;
For if you will persevere,
You will conquer, never fear,
Once or twice though you should fail,
If you would at last prevail,
If we strive, ’tis no disgrace
Though we did not win the race–
What should you do in that case?
If you find your task is hard.
Time will bring you your reward,
All that other folk can do,
Why with patience should not you?
Only keep this rule in view,
Felicitous Elaborations to you!
Baty, C. (2004). No Plot? No Problem!. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
If at First You Don’t Succeed – Try Again! by William Edward Hickson (retrieved 11.8.14)