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!
On Thursday I wrote a long list of things we could do to prepare for NaNoWriMo and for some reason, when I went to post, it wouldn’t.
I pitched a fit and stomped off.
Went to the TH evening party and it was a lot of fun.
You have today and tomorrow to think about a few questions so you can jump into NaNo a little more prepared.
BTW, if you want to play with WIFYR, email Bruce here: firstname.lastname@example.org and make your goals. Bruce will add you to the list. The goal is 1,000,000 words as a group! Woot woot!
- Who is your main character?
- What does she want?
- Have her write a note to you.
- Ask her 25 personal questions and write this interview down.
- Who are her friends?
- Her enemies?
- Her family?
- What is she afraid of?
- Can she sing?
- Is she funny?
- Does he have a crush?
- A true love?
- What is the scariest thing that can happen to her?
- Will it happen to her?
- What do you see as the climax of the story? Do you have a general idea?
- Name three things she will lose during the telling of the story.
- Are you trying to teach a lesson?
- What are you willing to give up to complete your 50,000 words?
Also, every Thursday evening, from 7-10 pm we will meet at Kyra Leigh’s house, eat and write.
Last year this was a lot of fun. This year it will be even more fun because I won’t have to clean every TH in anticipation of people arriving at my home. YAHOO, KYRA LEIGH! Anyway, if you want to bring potluck (which is what gets you into the house) and write for a few hours with fellow NaNoers, let me know. We have room for about 15 people.
You did it!
You are amazing! Did you accomplish 32 hours of writing? Did you take weekends off?
Did you reach your goal?
While I didn’t write every day, man, I tried. And I accomplished two big things. (I had hoped for three, but I am thrilled with the two.)
So, how do you feel?
Share your goals, if you’d like. What did you do? How would you have changed this challenge? How did you get your time in? What was the easiest part of the challenge fo you? What was the hardest?
I can tell you the hardest part for me. Even though I told my family for days that I was taking the hour in the mornings, they still intruded on the hour. I whined about this with the first interruptions, then I figured out I was going to need to figure out how to work anyway.
What was the best part for you?
The best for me was knowing out there, somewhere, other people were giving an hour a day to their writing. I loved the idea of community.
Ann Dee, Kyra and I will let you know where we’ll eat. Would you love to do a potluck? That might be great fun. Go to Olive Garden again? Whatever we decide, let’s make this an annual tradition.
And remember this–YOU ROCK!
PS Guess what awaits you? REVISION!
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.
What is the promise of your novel?
Are you writing forward with that promise in mind?
As you go along, if an idea comes to you about something that should have showed up in earlier pages, write yourself a note–right then and there–describing what should happen. Highlight it. Then keep moving forward. You’ll easily find what you’re looking for later.
Another hint- If you are reading the previous chapter to get you into your novel (which I think is a good idea, because it helps you settle back into this novel’s specific voice) don’t count that time as your hour. Your hour begins when you start new words.
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?