I believe I’ve quoted this fiction writing axiom before, but Terry Pratchett said, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” With this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m finding out how true this is. I’m feeling exactly what he was talking about.
I spent September and October prepping my story. I made up characters. I made an outline, I summarized scenes with just one sentence. So I’m 41,000 words into my 50,000 word rough draft and I happened to take a look at my one-word summary, my paragraph summary, and my plot point summary. All three of them had changed significantly since I started NaNo on November 1st.
That is exactly what should have happened.
As I’ve been writing this story, I’ve discovered the surface story is easy to write. The surface story is what I would call the actions, dialogue and things the characters are doing that can be shown by what they say and do. Easy.
What I’ve really been discovering as I write this past month is the story underneath. The backstory, the subtext, and the flashbacks to show why my characters act the way they do. This is especially coming through in the main love interest of my protagonist. I’m discovering more about his tragic relationship with his mother, his father and his grandfather and how it is affecting a budding relationship with any character.
And this other character is starting to become more fleshed out to me. Why is she interested in my protagonist? Are they going to be special to each other? Why or why not? She’s becoming more interesting as I write and I’m adding notes to come back in the next draft to add more conversations, actions and internal monologues to make both of these characters more interesting.
And, yes, I’m discovering this as I move along to 50,000 words.
Here are some links to some articles on writing I’ve come across this week:
- Self-Publishing An EBook: Part 2 – Editing The Book
- Rising Action in a Story (Or, Why Your WIP Might Suck)
- 4 Advantages of Writing a Novel Using Multiple Narrative Forms
- NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning Your Novel’s Ending
- Wrangling Your Writer Demons In 4 Steps