As most of you will know, NaNoWriMo is around the corner. Initially I wasn’t going to participate considering the busyness of life and all the things requiring my attention. However, I was talking to Rachel Poli in one of her blog posts discussing NaNo participation and she reminded me that I could be a rebel; I could write my 50K words without starting a new novel. It was a great idea.
Of course, my mind is a mysterious creature, able to conjure up the most outlandish ideas at the worst times. I don’t even remember where the idea came from, but I was suddenly struck by it for a new novel. Just in time for NaNo too. Only problem? It’s vast. It’s confusing. It’s massive. It keeps twisting and turning and writhing and squirming into a new form every day. It has more forms than a villain from Dragonball Z.
I’m a pantser. A discovery writer. A rambler. I get an idea, start writing and let the story, characters, and vague plot progress the story wherever it pleases. I’m as surprised by the ending as everyone else. Truth is, this doesn’t work all the time. It’s probably why I don’t have a complete novel by now. Why I hit writer’s block faster and harder.
Characters are core ingredients to a story. I sometimes forget this and realize much later than I have cookie-cut characters as thin as paper and more clichéd than an orphaned boy who finds out he has a special ability that makes him the chosen one. According to ancient prophecy. Guided by his mentor… who dies.
World Building is a massive part of the story. Yet I tend to forget this even though I wrote a four part series on world building. In fact, I read through that series and I realized that it’s all just vague waffling without getting into the nitty-gritty of world building. Even that is just another example of my type of writing. And I’m starting to hate it.
Depth of story, character, and world is my greatest obstacle. It is really difficult to write profoundly when you have no idea what you’re writing about. It is difficult to have significant characters when you have no idea who they are. It is difficult to have an expansive world if you don’t know what it is. In short, discovery writing hasn’t allowed me to explore all of these important traits and all I’m left with is lackluster drafts soon to be Recycle Bin material.
XMind is a free mind mapping software available for Windows, Mac, Linux and even has the cool function of working straight from a USB flash drive without needing to install it. My younger (sometimes wiser) self used to map every detail in a story. I’ve decided to go back to this tried and tested method to plot out my new novel. It actually needs it. There is so much detail I can’t imagine writing paragraphs of notes and trying to tie them all in as separate pages.
I’m actually struggling to plot this all out. The story has multiple-genres (horror, thriller, fantasy, and sci-fi, told as a mystery). It involves multiple characters. It involves multiple worlds. It involves concepts I need to figure out right down to the core otherwise my story will have more plot holes than all the Marvel hero movies (I’m looking at you especially X-Men). I’m already feeling severely overwhelmed and NaNo hasn’t even started yet.
I may have bitten off more than I can chew and I’m either going to choke, or pull a Golden-Snitch-In-My-Throat-For-The-Win-Maneuver.