Notes From the Field: NaNoWriMo Week Two
So tell me, how are you doing this week? Has your plot started to sound trite and stale? Are you questioning your character’s motivations? Have you decided that you don’t want any of your characters to survive the month?
Don’t worry. This is natural.
Usually at this point, you have either bonded with your story line or you are itching to abandon it for a better plot bunny. If the urge to abandon ship is too strong, by all means, go ahead. But do NOT delete any of the words you have written so far. They count toward your 50,000.
If on the other hand you are liking your characters, sit tight. By the end of this week, the momentum typically slows and you may feel like you are having to drag them kicking and screaming onto the page. Be patient with yourself. Let them be boring for a few thousand words – you can always edit later to perk them up.
If you have already run out of steam with your plot, or still haven’t found one, do not panic. Simply take yourself to the NaNoWriMo forum and adopt a new one. Find something to adopt that may add some life to your novel. A new character can spice things up, a devious villain, a character flaw, a side plot. Try any or all of these and see if it will get your story back on track. Just keep going.
Stay healthy. Get some sleep. Eat things other than candy. It is important to keep your immune system in check while attempting this feat. Colds and flu have derailed more than a few NaNo-ers over the years, I am sure.
Remember that you will have days when you either cannot eke out five minutes to write or just can’t bring yourself to the page. It is okay to allow yourself a skip day. Wallow in it, if you must, but do NOT skip two days in a row. I find it even more difficult to get back into the groove if I skip more than a day. Plus catching up from a 1667 word deficit is manageable; fighting your way back from a deficit of 3334 words or more will seem insurmountable.
If you do find yourself in the word-count hole this week (or at any time during the month) try some of the down and dirty tricks Chris Baty recommends in his guidebook, No Plot, No Problem. Add a character who stutters. De-hyphenate whenever possible to get two words out of one. Throw in a lengthy dream sequence. Have on of your characters read aloud from a lengthy tome. Give your characters longer names; instead of Jane, make your protagonist Jane Marie. All of these tricks will add to your word count.
Hang in there! The fun is just beginning.