Friday, November 6, 2009

A NaNo No-No

Yesterday morning, I finished a scene that struck a sour chord. All day I pondered it in the back of my mind, and by the late afternoon, I knew where I'd gone wrong. I even jotted down some quick notes for how to fix it in the next scene.

This morning, while brushing my teeth, I realized that I didn't need to fix the next scene—I needed to fix the scene I'd already written. And I knew exactly how to do it.

So this morning I broke one of the number one NaNo rules and went back to text I'd already written. I started out with the idea of doing the changes as edits, but I realized that I pretty much (except for two paragraphs) needed to scrap the entire scene. The entire scene!

I cut out eight pages (2,161 words), saving them in another document in case my new notion was way off base. Then I wrote 11 new pages (3,277 words) and confirmed that the bad feeling I'd had all day yesterday about the previously completed scene being wrong had been right: this new scene is the one that needed to be written.

I've decided not to count the removed text, since my real goal is not so much to make the NaNo word-count goal as it is to make my own 100,000-word novel goal. Still, it pleases me that I'm ahead of schedule even with the cuts, having amassed an "extra" 4,363 words more than the daily NaNo requirement (being 1,667 words per day). Since my personal goal is 2,000 words a day, I'm still ahead there too, with a spare 2.365 words, just in case I need a day off.

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