I bet you’re wondering: How is NaNoWriMo similar to an 80th birthday party?
This weekend, I celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday by helping my mother shop and find 80 presents for her. 370 dollars later, we toted home five bags of goodies of varying quality, price, and sentimentality. A few things on the list:
- Tea candle votive (plus tea candles!)
- Kitchen rug
- Squeegee bottle
- Five colors of Shammy (The Original!)
- Microwave steamer
- Dollar Store candy (Chocolate made in China [aka: don’t eat it or you could die of lead poisoning])
- Can of Salmon (Don’t want to cook dinner? Throw a can of salmon on the counter, and nearby family members will suddenly have the idea to go out to eat)
- “Grandma” mug
So. After mustering up the energy to start wrapping the presents (in tissue paper because of arthritis of the gift-opener and the laziness of the gift-wrappers), we dove in head first. We wrapped presents like it was nobody’s business. Those trinkets and baubles didn’t know what hit them!
And then, sixty presents later, we looked at the remainder of the pile and decided to take a break. Bad move.
With a heap of presents left, we started questioning whether or not we could finish in time, if we’d run out of paper/steam, and did we really have to wrap each of the Shammys separately? Sigh.
This is sort of like NaNoWriMo. (Segue!)
This morning, I went to write some of my Nano Novel, The Nameless Queen, and I realized that once I finish this scene, I don’t know exactly where I’m going next.
I know where I want to be after a couple chapters, but I’m struggling with getting myself there. I know that I want to have all the presents wrapped and taped, but the methodology is just getting in my way. And even more than that, I’m starting to question if this book, this adventure I’ve started off on, should be one book, two books, multiple books?? Should I spend more time on the streets before Coin heads off to the palace to delve into politics, mayhem, and conspiracies? Should I conclude the character arc, or muddle it up some more? What’s going to happen to Ren (MC’s best friend) when Coin runs off? And what about Hat??
It is at this point that I start spiraling into what-ifs. And it is also at this point that I need to recapture my initial goal. I came here to wrap presents, gosh darnit, to celebrate a birthday, and use a lot of scotch tape!
AKA: I came here to write the story of a Nameless street urchin who gets pulled into politics and has to figure out her own identity in order to save everyone who has no identity.
I glare at the bar graph which shows that I’m at 18,000-ish words. I start dong fractions in my head. My novel will end up being around 70k? Probably. I’m almost 1/3 through it. Am I about 1/3 through the plot? How much time and space do I have to work with? What is the integral of pi and x without a definitive range of integration… what is C?? And when the energy levels collapse in a two dimensional box with a single particle, can the particle find its way home again?
In the end…
We got the presents all wrapped up after finding the energy and courage to slip back into the routine of fold, wrap, tape, stack.
I decided that I would just keep writing the story as naturally as I can. You can always go back and edit out things if you spend too much time in a scene.
So hopefully, Chapter 11 will contain:
- A revelation
- An escape plan
- An honest conversation
- At least one death
And for now, that’s all I can do. Plan one chapter at a time, and pretty much pants the rest of it.
Pants (verb): To fly by the seat of your pants while writing as opposed to planning.