1st Post – NaNoWriMo follow up

My 1st Post

Welp, this is my first post. Welcome to my new website – now with focus on my writing (previously the site was haphazardly about Software Development).

First, I’d like to say that this blog will be utilized to help me focus and keep motivated on my writing goals. You know, one of those new years resolution things that, here it is the middle of January, and I’ve almost lost track of it. So, posts here will be mainly about the development of the second draft of my novel and then any outlining and drafting of novels that come later.

To the point

Back in November I embarked on yet another NaNoWriMo, something I’ve done off and on since the end of college. The furthest I’ve ever gotten was about 30k words of a not so interesting story.

However this time, I came in with a plan. I’d been reading lots of sites on writing. Larry Brooke’s and Jennifer Blanchard both have excellent sites that dive pretty deep into story development. Come October I started drafting an outline for my story. First it was just the main plot points: plot point one, the midpoint, and the final plot point. Next I thought of the pinch points. Ultimately I came up with a sort of outline. There was some pantsing (this is a term Larry uses for writing by the seat of your pants without direction, on instinct alone, something that writers like Stephen King have used to great effect) but this was kind of rare as what I didn’t have outlined in the beginning, I would outline several days before writing.

Glory to those who outline

Because of this outline I was able to get between 1500-2000 words each morning when I wrote before work. I even took a few days off to go to Disney with my crew. Finished at the 50k word mark the second day of December and ended at around 59k words a week after that.

Since then it has sat on a shelf (a digital shelf) and a couple of wonderful people (who love me) have read it. I’m now starting the second draft, starting with guess what – a new outline.

Taking in the criticism and my own issues with the plot I’ve moved several parts around. I actually found that the pinch points and the last plot point didn’t make it to their desired locations. Now, the midpoint will be plot point 2 and the scenes have moved all over the place. At this stage everything gets an outline – every single scene. Not the brief one liners I had for the first draft but paragraphs or multiple explaining not only the scene but the other elements like theme or character backstory I hope to portray in this scene.

Here’s a quick example of the first few scenes I outlined for the first draft. The new outline is more rich in detail. Less about plot, which is still there, but more rich in the goals I’m trying to get across with each scene. Notice I also plan for chapter breaks.

  1. AoD Intro. (prologue)
  2. Ch1. Wes is riding with his ex-best-friend Nick to college interwoven with scene 2
  3. (hook) Wait what? Nick and Wes’ girlfriend Andrea?
  4. AoD gaming scene, introduce Dre&m, Nick’s character Shadow Huntress, Moose’s character Nocturnal Elk. Facebook stalk Andrea.
  5. Ch2. Intro to Wes’s room at Nick’s with camo walls.Talk a bit about dream crafting Wes had done the night before. He goes to calc and chemistry where he sees Riley for the first time, talking to Antonio. There’s a potential party on Friday. Moose needs 5 bucks for the keg.