Tuesday, November 11, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Day 11

Today marks Day 11 of NaNoWriMo 2014, and as we plow (or slog, as the case may be) through Week Two, many of us writers may be starting to lose momentum. Some of you might be having doubts about how good your story really is. You might be getting buried in subplots or research opportunities. You might be ready to set this beast aside for another day.

Don't.

The Week Two Wall might be looming large in front of you, mocking you for your foolish plans to write a rough draft in a month. This is not the place to give up. Rather, this is where you give your main character a swift kick in the butt. Throw a plot point at him that throws all his preconceived notions down the stairs. Shock him into doing something that furthers the plot, and watch him rocket back out of the gate. Even if it seems as stupid and random as him finding an assassin hiding in his coat closet, that's an action point (you can figure out why the assassin was hiding in the coat closet later) and you can build on that.

In my case, I felt my momentum flagging, so I took a backstory point from one of my side characters and twisted into a plot element in the current narrative. Now my heroine is shocked and shaken and out of her element and a major part of her emotional support system (which is sparse enough to start with) is going to be sidelined for a while.

Remember that kicking the legs out from under your protagonist isn't going to kill them. If anything, they will come out on the other side stronger than ever before and even more ready to face the challenge of the day/week/month/whatever, especially if said plot point involves said threat going after your hero's loved ones. One laser-guided hero missile, coming right up.

So if you find yourself losing steam, have something blindside your protagonist and worry about making it less random during rewrites. It will give both you and your hero something new to do, and it will keep your novel from stagnating.

Happy writing!