Just over 41,000 words written and despite running out of road, I haven’t stopped driving. Or learning, there’s been plenty of that as well.
Things I’ve learned:-
As Terry Pratchett so eloquently said, There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.
I actually thought this was nonsense, to be honest. The unfair ramblings of a genius writer. I imagine, now, he had days that he had to drag the words out, but writer’s block? Nah. The words may be absolute rubbish, but they’re still words. In among the poor descriptions, tedious dialogue and other nonsense is something. That something doesn’t even have to take your story anywhere, it doesn’t even have to be part of the story you’re working on. Just write; write anything. Don’t think, either (that part actually comes effortlessly to me, I have to admit. I can spend hours not thinking, I can do that in my sleep.)
So yes, just write—don’t judge as Right Said Fred in the nineties. Possibly, I wasn’t paying attention.
The other thing I’ve learned about my writing is this:-
I need to plan.
Another genius writer, Stephen King, was pretty disparaging about people who plot books and don’t just see where the story and characters take you. It works for him, the man can write. For me? No, a disaster.
I’d planned, haphazardly, scenes for the first half of the novel. Little notes about scenes, the next scene, that kind of thing. When I ran out of markers, I ran out of story. The climax came almost half-way through, which rendered my mind blank.
That said, it’s got me thinking about that climax. It isn’t the climax, it’s a step-up to that. I need to make the climax even more exciting, I need to write three or four more climaxes and push myself. I must give my characters three choices of road, two of which lead to paradise, passive woodland creatures and a waterfall made of chocolate (I think I’ve been beaten to that idea, so that’s probably a good thing). No, I’ll send them down the road marked ‘Danger’ with glowing eyes peering out of the tree-line, ghosts telling them to turn back and an utter disregard for common sense. That’s what I’d like to read, anyway.
In just these situations, Eoin Colfer often writes They do something clever to escape… and moves on with the story. I like that advice.
My book, that story that has been rattling around in the empty space I call a skull for some twenty years, won’t be completed this NaNoWriMo. And that’s OK, I’ve accepted that. I’ll have 50,000 words come the end of it, that I guarantee. Lots of story, loads of learning, and the seed, the nucleus, for the proper attempt I’ll make—planned, plotted and crafted meticulously—to take it over the line.