Tweaking the Plan

I’m torn between two lovers: my revision-in-progress, with two outstanding requests, and National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, which starts in just ten days.

The revision is going well from a certain standpoint. However, doing what needs to be done to to improve the story has meant cutting almost fifteen thousand words in the past two weeks. Of course I am adding words, too, but the word count is increasing very slowly. At this point, I might as well admit there is no way I will have a completed manuscript by my self-imposed October 31st deadline.

Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I am more than ready for a fresh start. In the three years that have passed since I started writing The Wishing Box, I have learned much about craft and am chomping at the bit to put those skills to work. However, in order to be successful, I realize that I need a plan. I have discovered that I am neither a “pantser” nor a “plotter” but more of a “puzzler.” And if I am going to end up with a novel worth finishing on November 30th, I need to do some prep work.

Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, has written a couple of books to help writer wannabes. I read No Plot, No Problem a couple of years ago; recently, my writer pal Shawn presented me with a copy of Ready, Set, Novel which I am eager to dig into. This blog post seems to be kind of a condensed version of Ready, Set, Novel. It’s all good stuff.

Regardless of which approach I use, though, I need to set aside a few days to gather my thoughts, decide what my story is going to be about, get to know my characters, and outline key scenes before midnight on Halloween night. So I am revising my #ROW80 goals to reflect that. This evening, I will put the final sheen on the first three chapters of The Wishing Box and submit them to the agent who requested them at the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. Then I will set that project aside and spend the next ten days building momentum for my NaNoWriMo novel, which just might turn out to be the book that actually lands me a publishing contract.