(This posting originally appeared on The Melt-Ink Pot)
I looked at my calendar today and felt a rush of panic mingled with a dose of anticipation.
It’s October 14.
Which means that NaNoWriMo is just over two weeks away.
And I don’t know where my plot is.
Now, this is not as bad as it could be. For instance, on October 14, 2006, I hadn’t even heard of National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo). And yet, November 1 found me pounding away at the keyboard of my laptop. November 30 had me well over the 50,000 word “finish line,” and before Christmas, I’d brought my first NaNoNovel in at right around 100,000 words.
The problem is that back then, I didn’t really have a goal, other than writing a novel. But this year, my plan is to try to write the second book of the Celia Winterbourne trilogy. And I don’t know what happens in this book.
All right. I know a few things. I know that it starts with Celia sitting high in a tree, looking down over a gypsy encampment, on what should have been her wedding day. And I’m pretty sure that it ends in an airship over the Atlantic Ocean. I even know a few of the things that need to happen in between. (For a look at those, check out my story synopsis on the NaNoWriMo website.)
What has me in a panic is that I’m not sure what the story arc needs to be for this middle book in the series. I have a much better idea of the story arc for the third book, but it’s not time to write that yet — especially since things that happen in the second book will affect the plot of the third. At the moment, I’m worried that this second book will end up feeling like nothing more than a placeholder, a place to kill time while waiting for the third book to happen. There needs to be a satisfying amount of action and character growth to make the story worth telling.
I suppose I just need to knuckle down, shove Inner Editor back into her dungeon for the month, and keep reminding myself to write first and edit later. But that’s not always the easiest thing in the world to do.
I also don’t want a repeat of NaNoWriMo 2008, where I decided to write the sequel to my 2006 NaNoNovel. That year, I didn’t finish until March, and when I did, I was left with a 280,000 word behemoth that I still haven’t figured out what to do with (except, perhaps, to print it up and use it as a really effective doorstop).
On the other hand, maybe if I have fewer story details going in, I’ll have an easier time bringing the story in at a reasonable length. (I’m still trying to trim the first book down from its original 186,000 word length — so far, I’ve cropped 11,000 words out of it!)
So is anyone else attempting NaNoWriMo this year? Or have you set some other writing goals for yourself?
(p.s. For anyone who is doing NaNoWriMo and hasn’t already done so, my NaNo handle is arwensouth, if you’d like to add me to your buddies list.)
(p.p.s. Did anyone fall off their chair because I actually posted this on Thursday for a change?)