Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Amuse Your Future Self #NaNoWriMo
Like many of you, I'm deep into my NaNoWriMo manuscript. I've passed the 33,000 word point. Yay! If you want to find me on NaNo, click here.
When I say 33k words, you know that I mean absolutely horrible words, right? Like, toss 'em over the bridge kind of bad.
I used to worry about those horrible first drafts. I no longer worry. I plan my books with a loose outline and use index cards to keep me on track. If I'm inspired to change directions, I do.
Here's the thing. I don't worry about the crappy first drafts because I know they can be fixed. What I'm writing now will be like 50,000 words of detailed plot notes. It's when I work the story out in my head and bring the outline to fruition. Barely any dialogue, world description, etc.
But there's one fun thing that I do that I wanted to share with you. I amuse my future self.
You see, when I read through this for the first time (which will be weeks, maybe even months from now) I'll need a chuckle. I'll be convinced that I'm the worst writer ever, and how did I ever think I could shape that fuzzy idea into a full-length novel? (Note: the manuscript is never as bad as I think it will be)
So what do I do? I write notes to myself. Sometimes it'll be as simple as (dumb). Or sometimes I'll question myself (didn't I write this a few pages ago?). But sometimes my notes will make my future self smile. I might type (lame) or (is that the best you can do?) or (crappity crap crap). I might even type (this is where I felt like throwing my laptop at the wall. but i didn't. i kept going. now fix this mess)
This way I don't take myself too seriously. I'll remember that what I accomplished during the month of November was capture a story on the page. Nothing more. When revision time comes, I'll flesh out the characters, add dialogue, and ground the reader with sensory details.
First drafts are the toughest part for me, so right now I must focus on getting the story from my brain to the laptop. No looking back. And if I can make my future self smile in the process, I'm all good.
How about you, writers? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Do you have any tips you can share with the rest of us?