The outline I started last week is going great, but I could really use another week to plug the gaps before November!
Hopes vs Reality
I’d hoped to have the outline totally done by today. It was a noble goal, for sure.
Out of 50 scenes:
- 17 are outlined with just about enough detail for a first draft.
- 4 were okay, but need to be rewritten in light of other rewrites.
- 8 are super-rough and need some love.
- 21 are still only raw brain-dumps.
That might not sound like great progress, but I’ve got ticks against the important stuff!
- I know exactly how the story begins.
- I know exactly what the inciting incident is.
- I know exactly how the story transitions from the normal-world of Act 1 into the adventure of Act 2.
- I know exactly what the first antagonist-attack is.
- I know exactly what the midpoint is and how my protagonist changes her mindset.
- I know exactly what the second antagonist-attack is.
- I know… pretty well how the story transitions from the adventure of Act 2 into the final battle of Act 3.
- I know exactly how the story ends.
- …and I’ve laced it all with foreshadowing and joke set-ups and a drip-drip-drip of theme.
Ready for this?
The main things I’m missing from the outline are the worked-out scene summaries. I know what needs to happen in each one, but half of them aren’t yet driven by any specific goal or conflict — which means, right now, about half of the story is just a series of things that happen.
I’ve got a couple of days left to get my head into those scenes and sort them out. I know, though, that it ain’t enough time. That’s not pessimism; that’s realism.
But am I ready to hit the ground running on November 1st? Hell yes!
This week’s plan
There’s no room for vague weekly goals now. It’s time for a serious plan.
And here it is.
- Sunday 29th October: Spent 8 hours already working on the outline. Next up: write and publish this blog post, take a break, then low-key continue working on the outline until it’s time for my regular pre-day-job anxiety attack.
- Monday 30th: Spend two hours after work on the outline.
- Tuesday 31st: Spend two hours after work on the outline.
- Wednesday 1st November: Draft for two hours after work. Aim for 2,000 words total by the end of the day.
- Thursday 2nd: Draft for two hours after work. Aim for 4,000 words total by the end of the day.
- Friday 3rd: Got the day booked off work! Draft for eight hours, and aim for 12,000 words total before Alex comes over.
- Saturday 4th: Act 1 should be wrapped up around now, so it’s time to revisit the Act 2 outline before drafting it. Work on the outline for four hours after Alex goes to work.
- Sunday 5th: Judgement call: Outline if it needs more, otherwise pump out more words.
So, by this time next week, I should have 12,000 words done, minimum. Getting ahead of that would be lovely, but I’ve got some more time off work coming up. I’m planning for a few 8,000+ word days later in the month.
I can’t remember how many NaNoWriMos I’ve attempted and failed already.
It’s a lot.
But this one is different.
2017 has been the first year that I’ve taken my writing seriously. I’ve read more books on the craft than in all past years combined. I’ve written more words than in all past years combined.
I understand “story” better than ever, and I understand my own abilities and limitations too.
In short: this year, I’m prepared.
But also importantly: I’m motivated.
In past NaNoWriMos, I’ve taken part for fun. Just to see “if I can”.
This year, I’m playing for my life.
I want to make a serious go of my writing. I want to make some kind of living from this.
And — oh boy — have I made sacrifices.
My PS4 has been unplugged for months. I don’t binge Netflix and Amazon Prime Video anything like I used to. I used to book time off work for mental recovery, but now I book time to write. I can’t even remember what I used to do on Sundays, but now I get up at 5am and I get words out.
I’m prepared, motivated, and committed to 50,000 words in November.
Good luck, everyone! Let’s do it!