Let’s Not Talk About That

Happy Election Day, squiders, I guess. Man, I’m exhausted from being anxious all the time and I wish I thought today would be the end of it. But that’s depressing, so let’s not talk about that.

Let’s talk about Nano!

Here we are, day 3. I’m pretty much right on track (though I haven’t written for today yet). Normally I try to write 2K a day so I can be a little ahead. I may get there yet, but thus far I’m just trying to keep up and not worry about it.

It’s actually a bit of a miracle that I’m on track. October, as I mentioned before, I spent most of the month trying (and failing) to finish my changeling story draft, so I didn’t switch to planning my Nano cozy mystery until pretty late in the month.

Which meant that I was not done with my planning by the time November hit.

We’ve talked about this before, but I find it really hard to outline in detail on a first draft, but I do like to have some direction (and also it helps with my pacing), so I tend to do an outline style where I know my major plot points and can head toward them in a timely fashion.

You can probably pants a mystery. Actually, the very first time I did Nano, back in 2003, I wrote a mystery. Well, I wrote 29,000 words of a mystery, then got a concussion and the death flu. That one was not planned. In fact, I wasn’t even going to do Nano until I woke up with a story idea on November 3rd. And I didn’t know who was the killer until I was 10,000 words in.

But I also haven’t ever touched that story again, so.

ANYWAY, though, I had to do new and different planning for the mystery. A lot more character work. Normally I just let them form on the page (though arguably that did not go well for the changeling story, so), but this time I found a blog post about using a random number generator so you could decide how they’d react in different situations, which was very useful. Also a quirk generator, because what’s the point of a cozy mystery if you don’t have wacky side characters?

And then I had to plan out my murder. (Actually greatly helped by a joke conversation on one of my writing group’s Discord channel.) And you can’t just plan out the murder. You have to know where all potential suspects are throughout the murder, so you can plan for red herrings.

My point is, on the morning on November 1st, I had MOST of my character work done.

So I spent the morning finishing my characters and then writing out the murder.

I spent the afternoon doing the murder timeline and the first third of a more detailed phase/turning point outline.

And in the evening, finally, I got to write. (And also botch dinner three times, but we’re not going to talk about that.)

It was an intense day.

My third of an outline should get me to about 20,000 words (or day 10ish), so around then I’ll need to do the next third. I think it’s okay, not having the whole detailed outline done. It’ll allow me to integrate things that happen organically in the first third, and I do have a general sense of how the story is going to go.

So. Still early, but doing okay.

How’s your November going, squiders? Doing anything distracting?

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