NaNoWriMo is only 25 days away. I’ve nowhere near accomplished the work on other things, and soon I’ll set it all aside to do something crazy and fantastic for the third year in a row. Last year was tough. I’m apparently not a pantser, yet I’m not the best at making a plan. More often than not, I would never make an outline for anything I wrote, even long research papers in school, unless I specifically had to turn one in for the assignment. I think they’re a great idea, and I wish I could really plan things out that way. I think I really need them when I write a long piece, to both keep myself on track with where I’m going with the story, and also to keep motivated day after day. If I know what I’m going to write, and don’t need to wait for an idea or inspiration, it goes much more smoothly.
That is something I learned in two NaNoWriMo months. I don’t think that I knew that about myself in either high school or college (where I majored in English with a writing emphasis). And this is where I need an outline when I write, because I am completely off the topic and far from the point I wanted to make.
With NaNoWriMo only 25 days away, I’ve been checking their blogs more frequently and just tonight went to the website and looked at my profile. I reread the description I had up for my 2010 novel and I thought, “If only that was the novel I ended up writing!”
Oh, I guess I was always making my point. How unusual of me.
I wrote the description and thought it was a bit slapshot at the time, somewhat over-generalized and, while not inaccurate, not quite a representation of the plot I had in my head. The elements were all truthful, but some of the scenes didn’t work as I had planned and the logic didn’t quite solidify in the finished work. I realized as I reread the paragraph, though, that this was exactly how I would want this book to be described on its back cover. And also, that this was how I had really wanted the book to turn out.
I think that, as I consider revisions, I should keep this paragraph front and center as I edit, forming my corrections to the content as described. I should look at this paragraph and list the ways I deviated from my vision, and scenes or lines I might add in to shift the book back to where it should be.
I suppose this is how editing works, really, but I’ve never had such a clear line to judge by before. Mostly, my “books” are just jumbled scenes in my head that come out in no particular order. They’re daydreams and thoughts that help me put aside the stresses of the day so I can sleep. And here’s a punchy, if not perfect, paragraph I could use to refocus, sell, and promote this book.
(I have an urge to say “Shit just got real.”)
As an added bonus, here is the paragraph:
Ethne is the world’s cutest Curia exorcist. Blonde and petite, she kicks demon ass and shows ghosts the Door. However, she can’t make her undead partner Stellan get along with her dead boyfriend Jezra. Vampire-Curia relations are in a steady decline, making working with Stellan even more politically incorrect. And now she’s run across a ghost that won’t leave its house; not to mention it’s annoyingly smug that Ethne seems to have lost her Key to the Door.