A few weeks ago my youngest and I transplanted my lemon tree into a new pot. Every year we get one HUGE lemon from this tree and I was excited that the one lemon I had-pollinated, still clung to the branch.
Low and behold, when Carolina and I moved our tree, it rejoiced and burst out in blossoms all over!
Yahoo! More hand-pollination for me to do! The promise of more lemons!
But this growth got me to thinking. I take very good care of my southern plants. I have two orange trees, a clementine, a lime and two lemons. I have a couple of hibiscus and I’m even growing ginger (three pots full). Still, my lemon needed more love than I had given it. It needed room to breathe and stretch. And when I gave the tree what it needed, I was rewarded with blossoms.
This is sorta like our stories. Here we are, writing with our heads down, trying to get a specific number of words each day. This is exactly what we should do during NaNoWriMo. And at this point, we should be in the just-after-the-beginning of the middle of our novels. That horrible awful icky yucky-ducky place that I slog through every time I write a book. We might be feeling a little stuck. Or root-bound.
Why not shake things up a little? Loosen the roots of your book. Allow your story to blossom. How? By asking yourself a few questions. Here are a few that may shake things up for you.
- Am I allowing my character to move the plot or an I forcing the story to go the way I want it to?
- Am I adding far too many characters? Too many subplots? Too many useless words just to make word count?
- Am I feeling a forward movement in the story or have I gotten stuck because of wrong moves made in previous pages?
- Do I trust myself, my story idea, my creativity, my characters to move the story toward the climax of the novel?
- Do I know where I am headed? (By now, I think you should know what the climax of the story will be.)
- For the sake of numbers, am I adding useless bits and pieces that may throw me off course during revision?
Hopefully these questions will give you an idea of how to grow a bit more during this exciting month of NaNoWriMo. And I mean that. This month should be a growing month, an exciting month, a frustrating-but-I-did-it, fun month!
You have just one day–just these last few hours–to complete your writing goal of One Hour a Day.
When will that be for you?
Will you join me for one hour right after I post this blog?
I’ll post one more time tomorrow.
But may I just say, even if you write five times with us this last month, good for you. What we do? It’s hard. And you’ve been doing hard things.
Enjoy your last hour on this challenge.
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
How will you finish the challenge?
We hope you’ve been writing.
I know I have tried to write Every. Single. Day.
Put your head down.
No need to try and make up lost time. Just WRITE today.
Enjoy these last two days.
Love your words.
Love this chance.
Love your story.
Do you know where this book is headed? By now you should have an idea. If you’re stuck, write scenes. One scene an hour.
What have you learned about your main character?
Who has surprised you most in this writing process–as far as characters? People you’re working with? Living with?
We’re two weeks in. Have you written one hour each day? Do you miss the time if you don’t write? Are you thinking about your novel on off hours?
Over on Facebook, my friend Matthew S Armstrong is challenging artists to draw every day for one month. All this month of July! Fill a sketchbook!
My youngest is doing this. So far, so good. She shows me each evening.
This month of July I want to–again–write one first line of a new book everyday. Five minutes to do it. Great opening lines. If it takes less than five minutes, I can write line 2, 3, 4. But it can’t take longer. Five minutes to get something new on the page, daily.
Remember Richard Peck? You’re no better than your first line? That opening is a key. The entryway.
As I have done this first line on a new novel before (three minutes to write them then!), I’ve found I need a few moments to think. Think about what I might want this book to be, otherwise I can’t do it. Not for 30 days straight. I don’t often start an idea with a line of writing.
I read somewhere that the opening line of a book should have voice, a little bit of mystery and character in it. Can you do that with each start?
That opening is also a promise of what is to come. It’s exciting!
So join in. With Matthew or me or both of us.
If you were going to hide gold, where would you put it?
I have to admit, I love gold.
And our writing, when done well, is as shiny as gold.
That’s my goal: to write as well as possible.
Your writing prompt today is reading.
Read this great article, and maybe even buy the book.
I love William Zinsser. I’ve never read this book, but I know I would love what he says here, as I believe these ten hints are genius.
PS Check out the links below the article for more things to read before you write today.