I’m plotting up a novella for November and remembering how to actually construct a story. One of these days I’ll figure out how to use those story arc diagrams during the process, but I’m secretly afraid of them. So far I’ve had to resist throwing in a random princess which, for some reason, and along the way I’ve actually come to know my protagonist better. She’s pessimistic, missing an eye, and handy with a spear.
I’m using my free NaNoWriMo trial of Scrivener, which I have pretended not to need for years. I have won NaNo several times and felt no need to actually use the 50% off discount I get for the program, and now that I am in the throes of editing The Book of The Dead (my current novel WIP), I have been wishing desperately for it.
My plotting involves writing out plot points in a notebook, doodling characters, becoming frustrated with my own inaccurate portrayals of those characters, and then drafting an outline in a document. Somehow I now have a complete outline that I think will take me to a 15,000 word novella, but we’ll see come November.
Pictured Below: my characters and I agreeing to collaborate for the next month
We all experience the high that comes from beginning something…and the drop when you have to finish it. If I had a penny for all the starts in my drafts folder, I’d probably have, like, a dollar. But the show must go on through the murky middle of a novel, and here are a few ways I keep myself excited about the long slog.
- Playlists: I can’t listen to music while I write, but I make playlists for the story/characters/relationships to listen to before I start writing in order to refresh my inspiration/motivation.
- Looking Back: Often when I feel like I’m walking through a swamp, I’ll pull out my planning notebook, which contains all of my research and plotting and doodling for the current WIP, and flip through it, reminding myself how I got to my current point, and why exactly I should carry on.
- Exercise: Go for a run. Go to the gym. Don’t listen to music, don’t listen to anything. I just let my brain float for a while. It deserves it.
- A New Cup of Tea: If I’m stalling and my mug is cold and sad, I break for the ten ritual minutes it takes to prepare a cup of tea. Back at the computer, warm mug in hand, I’m rejuvinated.
- Just Push Through: It must be done. The bottom line is always that if I don’t finish it, it won’t be finished. Chant it like a mantra. Write it on your ceiling above your bed. You must finish in order to truly begin.
✴This has been a queued post, as I am currently in the Amazon with no Wifi. Returning next week!✴