Another late post. Busy day today. But it was a good writing morning for day 12 of my unofficial participation in National Novel Writing Month.
It didn’t start out so well. I got up, planted myself in front of the computer, wrote a sentence, and thought, “I have no idea where I’m going with this scene.” I’m still in that squishy middle that I’ve been trying to clean up and streamline, and I’m working on a new scene that will bring together the first half of the novel with the second half. (I messed up a bit in the first draft, so skipped ahead and wrote to the end figuring I’d fix it in the revision, i.e. now.)
What to do when you don’t know what to do? Well, after proscrastinating with the Internet for about 30 minutes (I know, I know), I started thinking about the problem and realized that, writing for an hour or two every morning — a very early, mind-numbing hour or two — I’m not able to clearly get the big picture of my whole story in my head. Without seeing the two parts that have to be joined clearly, it’s difficult to see how to weave scenes that will join them.
So, I thought of what The Unnameables author Ellen Booraem said in her comment on this blog the other day, and picked up a notebook and a pen. I wasn’t looking for stream-of-conscience kind of inspiration, but something more structured. So, I modified what Ellen had suggested and wrote out a kind of timeline between the last major plot point to the current scene.
Bingo! Even though six chapters had passed, I realized it was only a couple days in the time of the story, and not enough time for what needed to happen. Plus, I was better able to see location placement, which also helped with the flow of the story. The next scenes popped into my head clear as day, the end of the last one nicely blending with the second half of the story. That’s it! I’ve got it. I now know what to do. All I have to do now is write it… but that’ll have to wait for another day.
Sunday, to be exact. That’s right. No writing for me tomorrow, at least not this kind. But I have an excellent excuse: I’ll be attending the Brazos Valley SCBWI 2008 Conference: Connections & Craft, Writing for Children and Young Adults. Up around 5am to drive there for the day-long conference. I’ll also be getting my first critique at a conference, and I’m very excited.
I’ve written about conferences and other writing events before, but once again, I can’t stress enough how useful they are. Even if you hear advice you’ve heard before (and chances are you’ll gain at least one, but probably more nuggets you haven’t heard before), conferences a) reaffirm that advice and b) give you time with fellow writers, hearing their stories and getting plenty of opportunities to get fired up and inspired.
I won’t be blogging tomorrow, but Sunday, I’ll let you know how it went. And hopefully, I’ll also get that next scene done.
How’s your writing coming?