I have a goal! The title and accompanying image might give a hint as to what it is. I am working towards finishing my second draft novel writing course by the end of October (it has been on hold since April). At the end of the course I’ll have a solid synopsis, which will allow me to get real value out of NaNoWriMo 2016: tackling the feat of completing a novel (or at least 50,000 words of it) over the course of November.
To borrow from a tagline on Camp NaNoWriMo’s site, the event is:
An idyllic [writer’s] retreat smack dab in the middle of your crazy life.
Yes, if I can’t have a beautiful mountain top cabin with a view of a cascading waterfall, the accompaniment of bird song and fragrance of spring blossoms and a perfect coffee, I’ll take the virtual version.
In order to make this lofty goal a little more grounded and achievable, I have slowed down in participating in writing challenges. Since going into hiatus with my novel in April due to a range of other life priorities coinciding with the end of a block of course tuition time, my creative urges have been sustained by challenges hosted by other bloggers: Haiku with Ronovan Hester, Three Line Tales with Sonya, 200 Word Microfiction with Jane Dougherty and Two ‘Phrase’ Stories with Dr H. Each of these challenges has helped my writing immensely- in loosening up and just going with ideas, writing succinctly (and at times within a syllable count), and exploring genres and styles I hadn’t previously. A bonus out of all that regular poetry and short fiction writing was that a revised version of a haibun inspired by a challenge output was included in Contemporary Haibun Online. The challenges have served me well, but it is time now to shift my writing focus on achieving the goals I have set for between now and the end of November 2016.
I am up to Turning Point 5 of 7 in the course, and about a week away from enrolling in another block of tuition time. Every now and then I will post extracts with as much obtuseness as I can muster so that I do not give away the plot or key details of the story for potential future readers (hey there!). For those who are interested, the structure for the course consists of working through 7 turning points, each of which have a number of steps, with each step broken down into 3 sequences (setup, complication, pay off). The next level down from sequence is scene, and at each level of detail there is a central dramatic question and character arc. The turning points are:
- Prison/ Predicament
- Inciting Incident
- Moment of Awareness
- Situation Desperate to Surrender
NaNoWriMo, here I come! I look forward to the discipline of a daily word count target, joining the likes of Stephen King, Graham Greene and Maya Angelou in this necessary approach to maintain momentum and hone the craft (more on this with a very nerdy investigation of writer’s habits in an upcoming post).
If you’re doing it this year, I’m registered as 10000hoursleft if you’d like to interact on forums or whatever at NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo (I have yet to explore the sites). Hope to see you at story time around the campfire!