Monday, November 12, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 12 Wrap-Up

Have you ever read a book that was turned into a movie? Or maybe it was play you read for a class, then saw acted out on stage?

Well that's what writing a novel is like.You have a pretty good idea of what's going to happen, but you're still a little amazed (and surprised) at seeing it "for real."

You sit there and create a basic scenario, a couple of main characters...and then you just--go. At first you are in control, what happens is usually exactly what you expected. Then someone will show up, maybe they're in a gorilla mask...or something weird...and BAM! You're reduced to mere spectator. True, your fingers are doing the typing (or moving the pen) but it's all a shock to you. It's like these imaginary people all held a meeting while you were up getting coffee and were like, "Screw this guy, let's all go hold hands and build a sandcastle."

Or whatever.

This is both very rewarding and very scary. It doesn't always happen, but when it does you feel elated and terrified. I'm convinced that is how the biggies (you know who I'm talking about) consistently churn out those 800-1000+ page books. They don't set out to write 'em so big...they just sorta get a mind of their own--and grow huge!

I've been surprised every time I sit down to write for the past few days. The people I thought were going to take center stage aren't nearly as interesting as the "background" characters who I created just to move things along. A couple have pushed and shoved their way to the front of the pack. And it's interesting.

Normally, I'd fight it but because of the nature of NaNoWriMo, I've decided to let it go. Why not? My novel needs the side-plots to help flesh it out.

I used to worry that I didn't have enough "story" to make it to 50,000 words...and I didn't when I started. But novel writing is like rabbit farming--just wait and if you do it properly, you'll have more rabbits than you'll ever need (or want). I'm contemplating a 200-250 page total (in the end). This isn't an exact science, but I'm leaning in that upper direction (the days of me worrying about making 150 pages are over--today I crossed the 80 page mark and am nowhere near the end).

Anyway, I met and exceeded my word count. I'm sitting at 21,748 (nearly half-way to 50,000).

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