Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Thought on NaNoWriMo

     We are now five days into the National Novel Writing Month. I was only made aware of the existence of such a month last year, and would like to ask it, "Where have you been all my life?" I'm always unsure and hesitant as to when to start my projects, so this month is useful for getting me started working.

     Even as I race to get all the ideas from my head onto paper, though, I wonder what the point is. I mean, it's obvious even at this stage of the game that my storytelling is very rocky, my characters are not developed (in print), and there are whole gaps in the plot. What's the point?

     I believe it has to do with Rule 1. The point of disciplining oneself to write a whole novel in the space of a month is to get one's ideas on paper, no matter how raw and unrefined they are. That's step one. From there is the usual going back through, revising, rewriting, redreaming things. Eventually you have a nearly finished draft.

     Take the pressure off. I'm a little too perfectionistic for my own good. I need to divide up my focus. First, get the really rough part written, and see what's good there. Then go back through and cut everything but the best stuff. Rethink. Repeat.

     There will always be room for improvement. Right now, the focus must remain on the necessary struggle through decidedly imperfect work to get to the good stuff. To borrow my favorite analogy, use your pickaxe to start hacking through the dirt and hard rock to get to the gold. That's the first step in this great journey of (at least) a thousand miles.

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