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Nov 19, 2012

Update on #NaNoWriMo 19: Length

Control the length of your writing, or this could happen to you.

It's ironic. I wrote my Tips ahead of time. The order of writing tips is an not exact science (which is why I'm offering them as a complete ebook for those who want to "cheat" and read ahead.) As it happens, however, when I woke up this morning I was worried about two things, (A) how to cook a turkey, and (B) that my NaNo novel was going to be too long.

Also, I think I'm going to put the shoe scene back in. (A decision not unrelated to the wordcount worries.)

I'm still wavering between a three act structure (with 15 chapters) or a four act structure (with 12 chapters).  The 12 chapters don't seem to be working, but I'm attached to it because I like the number twelve for this series.

I told myself when I started this book that I wasn't going to obsess about either (A) the number of chapters or (B) the length of the chapter. I would let the words and chapters flow as they willed.


Many writers write that way, but me: I obsess. You might think, well, if Chapter 3 is too long and Chapter 4 is too short, just move some of the stuff from 3 into 4. How hard, Tara, seriously? But nooooooo. I can't. Because I write each chapter as its own mini-story, with certain things that MUST happen in that chapter, a specific beginning and a specific end, and I can't simply take the Ironic Ending of Chapter 3, which references the Hook at the beginning of 3, and put it in Chapter 4.

There's another reason too. I've found that, as agonizing and frustrating as it is to fit the story into X chapters of Y words each with a novel no longer than Z.... It usually forces me to improve the novel. When there's flab that doesn't fit, there are two possible problems. One, the flab is fat and must be cut. Or two, there is more meat the the material than I considered in my original Outline.


Cut? There are a couple of characters I wonder if I need to cut, for instance, his two junkie friends. They have purpose--they betray him to his stepfather. Hm. So I won't cut them, but maybe I can still cut down the scene they are in, or move it so that these friends are not as prominent.

Add? I read over my first Act and, although I liked a lot of it, I felt that it wasn't "Halloweeny" enough. I already have ghosts, demons, masks, ritual murder, a witch with a cute kitten familiar, a geometry quiz, houses with decorated with lawn cemeteries, satanic schemes, a trip to hell and Trick Or Treating which will include an army of ravaging goblin teenagers. Hm. What major component of Halloween was still missing? Ah! Candy. Duh!

1 comment:

dolorah said...

So, you're obsessing over the editing process BEFORE you complete the first draft? Well, not the way I'd advise writing, especially a NaNo project - but you seem to function this way normally.

So I guess my encouragement is: go Tara! I'm sure you'll work it out. Sometimes I find admitting a shortcoming makes it easier to plow through and git it done. I'm sure you're going strong with everything that works for your writing process. It is different for everyone, right? Hang in there - and enjoy the Turkey Day.