Everything about this year’s NaNo is unusual for me. For the first time, I continued to have serious doubt about the novel, even as the first week was winding down. Most days, meeting the minimum word count was a chore. Experimental structure to work through. Too many plot lines. All adding up to a story that felt as if it was flying off in all directions. But that bit I wrote about picking an arbitrary point to start writing from? It proved to be part of the solution.
It isn’t a solution that will result in a coherent novel, just one that will get me through the task and leave me with enough raw material to carve out a novel. I’m writing scenes, without any attempt to get them in a chronological order or link them to preceding and following scenes. I know that sounds a whole lot like pantsing, but it isn’t — quite. I know everything that’s going to go into the novel, so I’m still working with the story as I planned it. All the pieces will be there, but lying around, waiting to be shuffled into order. A gigantic jigsaw puzzle.
So far, letting go of the need to write chronologically has been very freeing. Yesterday was a good day, and today looks as if I’m really on a roll for the first time. Almost a thousand works before noon, and I’m not a morning person, so things are looking up.
Turning all that material into something recognizable as a novel will probably be one of the hardest writing jobs I’ve ever done. But it’s also an amazing challenge, and I do thrive on challenges.