Yesterday my word count was 10,305. I’m caught up, assuming I meet my goal today. Unfortunately, I haven’t written anything today and I’m not sure if I will or not. I encountered a problem I’ve never had, not only during Nanowrimo but with writing in general. My story is finished, except it’s not.
Let me explain, since I know that sounds odd. I thought I was prepared enough to write this story but apparently I wasn’t. All the major scenes were planned out. I wrote scene cards and pinned them on a cork board and was confident I knew how to get from beginning to end.
I did. I wrote every one of those scenes. The problem is, with only a couple of exceptions, I only wrote those scenes. Normally, I start with my opener and the first few scenes. Then, if I’m lucky, some magic happens between the first sequence and the next, or even between those first scenes. Call it filler if you will, or transitions, or whatever. It didn’t happen this time. This story reads like a 100 meter dash instead of the marathon it needs to be!
This could mean several things. It could simply indicate this shouldn’t be a novel length story, but I don’t think so. It could mean I am not as interested in the story as I believed. Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be. Perhaps this novel needs a lot more planning than previous ones, or less. It’s changed a lot since I first conceived it, so it could be it changed so much my muse doesn’t understand it anymore.
I don’t know what the problem is, so I don’t know how to proceed. Some of what’s missing is what I call padding. I write very little description in a first draft, unless it directly impacts the characters. I have several scenes where I’ve fleshed out the setting a lot and others that only say ‘forest’, ‘town square’, ‘grocery store’, etc.’ I haven’t taken the time to describe either main character or any of the lesser but important ones. I did spend some time on the villain though. I figure I know what they look like so I can just get the story out and add that stuff later.
If I go in and add all the items listed above, I would still only have about 15,000 – 20,000 words. I need to take some time to figure out what happens in between the crucial scenes. Therein lies my biggest problem. I’m doing Nanowrimo. I don’t have time to flesh out a story I thought I understood and still write 50k words.
So today, I’m taking some time to think and make decisions. Do I set aside this story and pick up something else so I can get the word count? I’ve done this before, every year I’ve participated actually. It seems to be my pattern. Or, do I take the time to work on a story I believe has massive potential and give up on Nanowrimo? I can’t do both.
Either choice is appealing to me equally. I will hate making this decision. I honestly don’t know what I should do.
I’ll post another update when I figure it out.