Day: November 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 12 (afternoon session)

I finished up Chapter 12 at lunch today, adding another 1500 words and bringing my daily total to 3,862 words, which is my best day so far this year.  The extra session brought me past the 30,000 word mark so that my 12-day total now stands at 30,076 words–an average of just over 2,500 words/day.

Chapter 12 really grew into a good climactic action sequence that shifts rapidly back and forth between two main viewpoints in what I think is a very entertaining way.  In second draft, I think it will be an even stronger chapter because the implications and what is at stake will have more meaning as I back-fill from notes I’ve taken along the way.  As it stands, there are 11 short scenes in the chapter that alternate viewpoints throughout an fairly complicated action sequence and that alone was fun to write.

And while I was completing the chapter an implication emerged that forms the basis of a major subplot for the second novel in the series (assuming the first one is successful, and my definition of successful = published).  When I originally outlined this, I did so in the context of a trilogy, with a detailed outline for the work in progress and a loose plot summary for a second and third follow on story, the overall story arc leading up to an event that is revealing in the third book.  Today, the catalyst for the second book emerged and it is wicked-cool (as I used to say when I lived in New England).

I’m feeling pretty good today with how things are going.  That’s not to say that what I’ve written in perfect by any means.  A substantial amount of rewriting will be required, but I think I have a strong, complex story with strong, complex characters and the whole concept of a novel is starting to gel in my brain.

Here are the revised stats for today:

NaNoWriMo 2010 Day12 session 2

NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 12 (morning session)

Whenever I hit a day where I don’t do quite as good as the previous day, I feel like I’ve missed my mark, and perhaps this is one of the downsides of NaNoWriMo.  In focusing on quantity, a good days writing session, well above your target, still fells like a failure if you didn’t do as good as the day before.  This morning, I jumped into Chapter 12 and managed to get through 2,317 words before I ran out of time–with the chapter unfinished.  2,317 words is 317 words above my daily target and some 650 words above the NaNo suggested target.  A very good day by any measure, and yet it was some 200 words short of yesterday.

Chapter 12 is the climactic chapter of Part 1 of the novel.  Two plots finally come together, told through two different view points, and in this chapter, I did something a little difference.  To pick up the pace, the chapter, as it presently stands, is broken into 8 scenes that shift back and forth between the two viewpoints in a kind of jump-cut fashion.  One viewpoint leaves off at a semi-cliffhanger, and the other picks up at that cliffhanger from a different viewpoint.  Fun to write, but it slowed me down a little, and in fact, I couldn’t finish.  I ran out of time with about 2 scenes left to complete. It is for that reason that I titled this entry “morning session”.  I’m thinking I’ll come back to it at lunchtime today and finish it off.

Chapters 13 and 14 are on the downhill side, wrapping up the loose ends and emphasizing those threads and subplots that will play an important role in Parts 2 and 3 of the story line.  The threads that run through the story are the complicated part, and trying to keep the tension high makes it even more difficult.  To illustrate what I’ve been trying to do, without giving too much away, I’ve put together the following diagram which describes the narrative arc of Part 1 of the novel.  (Click on the image for a larger version.)

Narrative arc part 1

The thick, red line represents the narrative arc over the course of the 14 chapters in Part 1.  The higher the line goes, the more of an increase in tension until things come to a head in Chapter 12, which is what I was working on this morning.  The color coding of the chapter lines represent the major viewpoint character of the chapter and a dashed line represents multiple viewpoints.  Underneath the arch are three lines that roughly illustrate the narrative arch for the three major subplots that unfold in part 1 of the novel.  This is what I am trying to achieve–I think.  Whether or not I’m successful at it is something that I’ll worry about in January when I begin the editing process.

If I do finish up Chapter 12 at lunch today, you can expect a second, “afternoon session” post later on today.

Here are today’s stats:

NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 12