I've been writing for NaNoWriMo, too. My current word count is 28,126. Which means I'm on track to winning. Hooray!
My goal for this NaNoWriMo challenge was to practice some new things. One of those things was to write without an outline.
I admit, I'm a hard-nosed planner. Just ask my writers group. All through October I wanted to make an outline or at least some notes, but I resisted. I don't know if that was the best decision, but I wanted to try writing completely by the seat of my pants at least once.
Seriously, how can you know if your way is best if you don't try other ways?
I started strong. Even though I resisted planning, I'd had the beginning scenes bouncing around in my head. But by day 4 I felt like I was on the edge of washing out. I didn't know where my story was going. I didn't know who the bad guy was, or even all the good guys. Did I mention this was scary for me?
It's been 12 days now, and it's not bad. I have quite the groove going. Here's how it breaks down.
Each day, I grab a voice recorder and record the next couple scenes as they come to me. I usually do this while I'm driving somewhere or when I'm out for a walk. I just let the story flow. Sometimes I'm talking in first person, sometimes third, sometimes I end up recording stuff that sounds more like stage directions than a novel. I jump back and forth in time. In short, it's a cobbled together skeleton of a scene.
I tried doing this without the recorder (just talking to myself), but it didn't feel right. Having the recorder makes the process work. I don't know why.
Later in the day, I sit down and type what I recorded. I end up making a lot of tweaks and changes, but it follows the same basic flow.
I've been surprised to find that as soon as a scene is recorded, I can move on to the next one. If I don't record a scene it stays in my head like a road block keeping me from thinking of the next ones.
So far it's been a fun journey. I've learned that my imagination won't fail me. I don't know if pantsing is for me. I'm not done with the month yet, so it might grow on me.
What works best for you during the drafting process?
* I've always been fascinated by these slot canyons. Sadly, I never visited them while I lived in Utah, but I don't let my guilt keep me from enjoying awesome photographs like this one by Damian Michalski on Flickr.