Once again, I spent most of my weekend writing my booty off. On Saturday, I wrote over 10,000 words for Fallers, and on Sunday I (wearily) cranked out an additional 3,000. So, that puts my total NaNoWriMo word count at 42,000. Woo-wee! I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the 50,000 word tunnel. And, if all goes as planned, I’ll reach it by next weekend.
But wait! Just because I’m about to hit the NaNo 50,000 word count goal doesn’t mean my journey is over. No, no, no. It’s only just begun! And it’s about to take a dreaded turn into the deep dark jungle I like to call, “The Middle”.
AHHH! Run for your lives!
Or if you’re brave enough, follow me. Put on some bug spray, tighten your boots and grab a machete. It’s time to start hacking and chopping our way through an ever thickening plot filled with lions and tigers and bears (…fine, fine, “oh my!”).
Ugh, the mysterious, smothering, I-don’t-know-where-I-am-or-what’s-going-on middle. For me, it’s always been the hardest part of a first draft. It’s when all of my pre-plotting ceases to exist, my confidence seeps away, and my “Oh my god, this is so awesome” attitude implodes. It’s when I suddenly realize I need to connect the beginning I’ve written with the ending I’ve planned. And I need to do it in a seamless way that adds to the story, maintains the intensity and builds the momentum…Yeah, not easy.
Navigating The Middle’s twisty-icky jungle is not only difficult, but discouraging. You’re constantly fighting off prowling beasts of doubt, swimming through plot swamps, and getting trapped in sticky, confusing webs. It’s a harrowing journey that threatens to attack and drown your story, your characters, and, most of all, your enthusiasm.
The only way to battle through it is to, well, battle through it. Put on some more bug spray, change your boots, and grip that machete tighter! Don’t let the cumbersome vines and branches hold you back or stop you from moving forward. Hack them down. Chop them to bits. Fight them off and keep moving forward.
Fight, fight, fight!
And all the while dream of what awaits you on the other side of the tangled mess: The End!
It doesn’t matter if you’re NaNoWriMo’ing or not. If you want to write a story, you’re gonna have to make the unwanted trek through The Middle. I hope for your sake your journey is easier than mine. But if it’s not, remember this: it’s gonna get revised. A lot! So don’t sweat the first draft (or two) too much. Just keep writing!
Hopefully by this time next week I’ll be able to announce I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo. And hopefully by early 2014, I’ll be able to announce that I survived The Middle’s oppressive jungle and went on to finish an entire first draft of Fallers.
Side note: If you’ve never seen Romancing The Stone, you’re totally missing out! It’s a must-see, especially for authors.
- NaNoWriMo Tip #12: Take a Walk (mediabistro.com)
- Encouragement to not change your NaNoWriMo story concept mid-month (todaysauthor.wordpress.com)
- Take that NaNoWriMo (jenspenden.wordpress.com)