I should know better than to go into NaNoWriMo thinking I know what I’m going to write about. I should really know better than to do a whole bunch of research on said book idea beforehand.
Because novels are squirrely. At least, mine are. They start out as one thing, then do an abrupt about-face that leaves me trailing after them holding scraps of now-useless research asking, “WHY?!?!?!?!”
Characters I think will turn out to be a big deal excuse themselves from relevance, throw-away side characters extract themselves from the woodwork and steal the show. It’s a silly business, writing a book. For all the good plotting does me, I might as well just wing it and stop wasting my time on preemptive research.
When I started typing novel #3 on November 3 (I know, two days late. Whatever will I do if I don’t finish?!) I had every intention of writing about a ballerina jewelry thief. I had the story all laid out, I was excited about it, I even had the first line all typed out in my head.
Wanna read that first line? Here:
She arched one impossibly long arm over her head, bowing it over her outstretched leg like a taut branch supporting the weight of a bird. A tiny chorus of pops and crackles from behind her as the muscles in her back warmed up, stretched, remembered their soreness from yesterday’s class.
But then…I couldn’t get past this paragraph. I tried changing point of view, I tried starting somewhere else. Nothing. Writer’s block. Muy no bueno.
So, I started writing about something else. I had no idea where it was going, I was just writing for the kicks of it. And then I started meeting this entirely new character. And thought maybe this could be that zombie apocalypse novel I’ve always wanted to write.
And, Heaven help me, I think it just might be. Wes and I combined our considerable imaginations and came up with an entirely new (to us, anyway) kind of zombie, and now I’m 9,951 words into a book I have trouble not writing because it’s so dang fun.
I’m still behind on my word count. By the end of day seven I should technically be at 11,669 words, and in order to pull that off I’d have to write an additional 1,700 words today to cap off the 1,400 I already wrote this morning.
So, I might not catch up today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe the day after that.
Who knows? By the time I catch up the novel may have changed again, morphing from a zombie apocalyse book into some kind of heartwarming tale of redemption and kindness and cracker sandwiches.