NaNoWriMo and Falling Action

This is the first year I’ve done NaNoWriMo, so I wouldn’t profess myself to be an expert in any way. But I think I’ve learned a lot from this first go-round, and my biggest lesson is: the middle is both the hardest and most rewarding part.

The beginning is easy. In the first few chapters you’re establishing setting, mood, and introducing new characters. That’s more than enough to make your word count without a sweat for probably the first 3-5 days. Writing a sci-fi novel like mine likely makes that even easier, since you can spend so much time describing what’s different about this world.

Then you hit the middle. You have a loose outline of where you’re going, but you don’t want to get there too fast. You also can’t just drag things out, because that will make the novel boring. You need to keep things exciting while also providing enough plot. That’s what makes it hard.

It’s rewarding, though, because this is the time you’re most likely to come up with surprising connections that you didn’t see coming. Until I was almost 1/3 of the way through my novel, I hadn’t decided that two major characters are blood relatives. Now that plot point, which I wasn’t planning on at all, has become a major character motivation lynchpin.

That must be what novelists talk about when they say to let the story live. I’m not on the level of a professional novelist, but it’s nice to see these small glimpses at what it feels like to have a story organically grow as it goes along — following the steps you’ve chosen in loose terms, but occasionally following unexpected tangents and twists that surprise the writer.

Now I’m in more of a falling action stage. Not literally — the book hasn’t hit its climax yet, because that would be insane. But I have a better idea of where things are going, and all my chess pieces are on the board. Now I’m moving them around, and writing is a bit easier at this point. I have a basic outline in mind of what has to happen and by when. Still, that week or so that I would be surprising myself was kind of amazing.

I recommend anyone with an interest in writing try NaNoWriMo at least once.

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  • Did you see any other sites covering Murder, She Wrote 2? No. No you did not. Also, that screenshot features Jessica Fletcher staring at you like a judgmental mother.
  • Entirely unsurprising but awesome news.
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