Sunday, 6 November 2016

Nano Day 6

Grinding to a halt... and here's why. In a nutshell, This isn't writing: this is typing.

There is a difference. At least, to me there is. In YA novels, every word counts. The moment you waffle, you lose the reader. You have a bit more leeway in adult fiction because adult readers have more patience and are more likely to stick along for the ride. But there has to be a promise to the reader, a hint that there is an end game, that we're on a journey. You can do it with a question or a hint, but there has to be something.

Here's the opening line from The Shining:

On the second day of December, in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado's great resort hotels burned to the ground.  

It sets a moment in time, a voice and lets us know where the book is going - a disaster, a great resort hotel is destroyed. The book is going to tell you why.

With my Nano project, I've got a good opening and three strong scenes, but I don't have an endgame in sight. There's no promise to the reader, no hint at the big picture. There's nothing wrong with the actual writing, but that feeling of not knowing where I'm going is very likely going to transfer to the reader, and frustration is the last emotion you want any reader to experience.

It's like I've set sail on a big wide ocean without a compass and a broken rudder. And there's a hole in the bottom of the boat. And a big bastard of a shark following me.

I think it's important to know what kind of writer you are, so in that respect, six short days of Nano has helped me out. I'm a plotter. I like to plan. So that's what I'm going to do.

That doesn't mean I'm giving up. It means I'm going to sit down and work out what I can do with this novel, what the goal is. If I can, I'll keep going. If not, I'll plan something else and see if I can catch up.

There's still 24 days left, so plenty of time. :)


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