Led down the garden path


It’s been a tough couple of days. I’m slightly gratified to learn that ‘week 2’ is widely accepted among the nanowrimo community as being a tough cookie. As the minds that be put it, those plot holes in my work are beginning to feel like chasms.

The guides published on the site are hugely entertaining. I especially enjoy references to the inner editor, and the guide to week two suggested a stream of consciousness style of writing to annoy the editor within…

‘sic a swarm of words on him like a hive of killer bees’
Tim Kim – Editorial Director (NaNoWriMo)

I’ve spent the past few days trying to solve some of those plot holes. During my linguistic training we learnt about being ‘led down the garden path’ because, instead of waiting for a sentence in its entirety, we process as we perceive it – word for word. As sign language interpreting happens simultaneously, there are many occasions when we make the wrong assumption, or miss information, and have to repair as we go along. From my perspective, writing in general can be a little like that. I have the words in my head, I think I know where I’m going with them or the idea, and then I’m taken down a different path entirely!

And so, I have been repairing those cracks before they swallow me whole.

I read an interesting post today by Cristian Mihai (http://cristianmihai.net/2013/11/12/outline/#more-4154). He discussed the issue of outlining a piece of writing. I know it’s good practice to outline, and there are various ways to do it, but I’m often lacking in that department. I prefer to start with the germ of an idea, and since I can already see the characters in my head I give them free reign. They have a habit of taking you where they want to go anyway, whether you planned it or not. So, in my case, to answer Cristian’s question (to outline or not to outline), I’d choose the latter.

Having said that, for Worlds Apart, the novel for nanowrimo, I had no choice but to plan a little. I had all these worlds in my head and in order to make sense of them I had to put them on paper. I did a crude drawing, and made a few notes – much more than I normally do.

It’s helped, as has a delightful little app called Storyist – I’ve been able to add details as they emerge.

So, I’ve repaired what I can and with less than twenty days left, the pressure is on.

I’ll be writing for the rest of the evening, and already the ideas are springing up and competing for my attention. I’d better get busy!

Until next time


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