One of the advantages of being finished with my Camp NaNo prep work is I can sit back and watch everyone else getting their acts together. I should be used to this by now, since I’ve worked through two NaNoWriMos, and the modus is usually the same: ask what people are going to do, throw out a few ideas you have, wonder about how you’re going to do your story, tell people you’re having issues with plot/characters/motivation, OH, DAMNDAMNDAMN! I’m behind my wordcount, whatamigonnado?????
I know what works for me. As I told someone the other night, I was fortunate enough to read about the writing process of others starting way back in the early 1970’s, and I adopted some of their process as nuggets to hold close to my heart. Harlan Ellison said he never started a story until he had a title. King and Gibson said they write every day, though Gibson has added that if he doesn’t feel there is anything to write, then he finds something else to do and doesn’t try to force the story. Arthur Hailey would usually never write more than five hundred words in a day, but he’d spend the day editing and re-editing those words until what he had was the final draft. Ben Bova once said that he wrote naked–okay, that one isn’t for me.
I once tried writing while semi-baked, because I was told that I could “unlock my imagination”. What it unlocked was a bunch of crap, and I tossed the pages I’d produced right in the trash. Guys like Hemingway and Fitzgerald might have had great success writing half in the bag, but I’ve not had much luck writing while in an altered state of mind.
I always kinda, sorta have an ending in mind when I start. Maybe the ending I do write isn’t the one I had in mind when I started, but I had an idea about the ending before I write my first word. In fact, I’ll usually think about a story for a week or two before I enter the title into the computer. But if I don’t know where I’m going–per the wisdom of Dr. Issac Asimov–then I won’t know how to get there.
As for plotting . . . yes, I do a bit of plotting. If I have something intensive to do, then I get a little more intensive with my plotting, but for the most part I do a little overview, create a quick heading, and I’m off from there. For my upcoming novel, one of the cards I set up in Scrivener says, “Silver Threads”. What does that mean? I know what it means, and from that I’ll write five hundred words, maybe a thousand. What ever it takes to get it done, will.
But that’s it as far at the plotting goes. I know the scene in my mind, so all I need is a reminder of what is suppose to go there, and I don’t need much else. What will I say? I have a good idea what I’ll say, but the final form could be far different from what I’ve thought about.
What else is there to say? Let me think about it.
I’m sure I’ll come up with something.