NaNoWriMo for Awesome

So, I’ve got most of my NaNoWriMo novel plotted/sketched out. So far just up to chapter 12 or so, I need to spend some time focusing on the final action and wrap-up, but I think I’ll be able to get there pretty quickly. Then, I’ll just need to spend some time before go-time filling out a few scene descriptions, and fiddling with characters.

Uh, Dave

Yes?

I did read your sketches

And what do you think?

That story is going to suck.

WHAT!? Come on, they don’t go into characters or any detail, and it’s just the loose sketch, how could you know it’s going to suck?

First off, I’m in your head, so I know. Second, that story may have started with a strong cast, but the plot has no soul. 

What do you mean it has no soul?

I can tell just looking through your meandering scribblings that this book is going to wander around lost in the woods until you get near the end, where there will be a big battle, maybe a chase, then it’s over -happliy ever after and all that. To top that off, it’s so full of cliches and over-used ideas that I don’t even WANT to like it – See SUCK.

Alright then, smarty pants, what should I do with it?

Go back to the first chapter you wrote up and have a chat with the characters. Maybe pantster it a little bit. I mean it’s fine to apply over-used ideas, but they’d better be interesting ones that are well executed, your original sketch has absolutely no hint of compelling story telling.

So, I’ve got to start over? 

No. Keep some of your characters, dump a few others, make the story about the main character and her problems, not about the adventuring. To paraphrase Yoda: Focus on where she is, what she is doing. Nobody gives a rip about a queen in a tower somewhere, and you know what? your MC probably doesn’t care either.

So what if it’s not very good? This is just NaNoWriMo, it’s just like a super-challenging practice session right?

NO – you are doing this to challenge yourself and get better at your craft. You’re not going to get better by churning out crap that a 3rd grader could do in an afternoon.

You’re a real jerk, you know that?

I’m not a jerk, I’m you. Now, get your rear back to work, you’ve only got a few weeks to re-imagine this story into something that isn’t awful.