I’m crawling along on that word count! Haha.
To be perfectly honest, I am so tempted to scrap the story I am doing for NaNoWriMo. That probably sounds awful (to me it most certainly is!), but I’ve learned that there are some definite pros and cons to picking up a story from an old draft and trying to finish it.
-Great jump-starter. An old draft can be a great source of inspiration and a really great motivator/ prompt.
-You aren’t starting from scratch (although I kind of enjoy that sort of thing).
-You have a sense of direction.
-You can’t seem to remember where you were going with it.
-It’s really harder than I thought it would be to “jump” back into the world I created. It’s more of an arduous wading process.
-You’ve changed as a writer.
For me, the last one has been the hardest part. I wrote this draft in the very infancy of all my writing escapades into fiction. It is honestly reading back to me like a naive version of a Philippa Gregory book, with a really crappy understanding of how she manages to make those steamy relationships work. Let’s just say I don’t see my future in the Romance genre (not that Gregory is in that genre, but she is good at creating genuine romance of grand characters in history). Given, a lot of my dilemma comes in the time setting. It’s medieval and goodness knows it is hard enough to create real dialogue without adding medieval jargon. This is where time travel would be awesome!
My conclusion? I knew to do this story right I would have to do lots and lots of reading and research. Which, trying to do this whilst finishing out the month with 50,000 words just doesn’t seem logical. So, what do you do when you get going and hit an enormous brick wall of literary realization? I have no idea! But, for me, I have decided to just blow up the brick wall. Instead of writing a coherent novel for the month, I’m going to write different scene ideas and just play around with possible routes for the future. I could just start on a less research intensive story, but I’ve come so far! Plus, I’d feel awful giving up on it again!
Back to the drawing board- or typewriter- okay fine, my keyboard!
Let me know if you have any tips with my dilemma, or how to research for novels in a different time period (assuming someone out there has experience with this!) I literally purchased A Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer
ages ago and have skimmed through it quite often while trying to work through the story. It can definitely slow down the creative flow! So, I am open to any other tips!
4 thoughts on “My first NaNoWriMo Road Block”
I’ve found that going back and revising and editing is one of the best things to do when I’m at an impasse. Subtracting sentences brings some coherence to the story and adding in a few here and there can bring out plot lines and future chapters. At the very least I get self editing out of the picture of things I need to do next.
As for researching, that’s what I’m doing for one novel right now. It’s set in Nice, France. I have someone who went there that I can use to bounce my descriptions and ideas off of, but I also have a different approach than simply reading an entire book on the place. Rather, if I want a detail added in, I find that, rather than the other way around. There is still full faithful detail, but the story drives my knowledge than my recalling knowledge to add into the book. It cuts down on what I need to know by more than half and makes me read indices rather than pages.
Also, kudos on being a mental health blogger. I finished a rough draft recently on bipolar disorder and depression.
Thank you so much for your input. I genuinely appreciate any and all ideas from fellow writers- especially those with more experience under their belt. I’m definitely going to try your method of just using information as I need it, otherwise I find myself reading up on my story rather than actually writing it. I wish you the best of luck on your bipolar disorder and depression rough draft! Mental health is incredibly important, not just to me, but to everyone- so I am happy to hear more people are talking about it and pushing through the negative stigma. Best wishes in all your writing ventures!
NaNo sounds like fun, though I’d never be able to keep up with it. I love researching a novel more than I like actually writing it. As for dealing with obstacles, your decision to “blow up the brick wall” sounds reasonable to me. Good luck!
Thank you! I really enjoy the research part too and it is slow going. However, I’m enjoying it and that was my only real goal. I think NaNo would be way too stressful and unproductive for me if I really forced myself to the 50,000 words.