Thursday, November 08, 2007

Chapter 5: In Which the Writer Has No Idea What is Happening

When I was writing my plot outline, there were a couple places I knew I wanted to insert a subplot to get me from one point to another. Unfortunately, while plotting I didn't have any idea what that subplot would be, so I noted the chapter, put in a couple points of stuff that needed to happen before the next scene I knew and left myself the note "something happens here--not sure what. Subplot?" I actually have two chapters in a row where I did this. I guess I thought that by the time I got to the end of the outline I'd know what would go there. Instead I forgot all about it.

Skip ahead a week to last night. It's NaNo day 7, and for the most part I've been making pretty good progress. I'm expanding and fleshing things out following the outline, a couple surprises here or there as my characters develop on the page, but so far this story has stuck very close to the outline, more so than anything else I've written. So, I'm trucking along, making most of my word count goals, things are working. Then I hit Chapter 5.

I didn't realize how reliant I'd been on my outline to keep my forward momentum until I slammed to a halt going "what happens in this scene?" Okay, no problem right? Just skip to the next part. (I usually write chronologically, but I've been known to jump when I'm stuck) I looked at my plans for chapter 6...also nothing. *sigh*

I thought about skipping both chapters and hoping something would connect the points of the story later, but...I was afraid I'd lose a lot of character development skipping that far ahead and I'd be in store for a whole lot of rewriting in the second draft once I actually did figure the mess out.

So, I dug in my heels and tackled chapter 5.

Here is where I ended the night:
Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
15,864 / 50,000

Last night was some of the slowest writing I've done this NaNo, but the scene is finally taking shape. I learned some unexpected things and I think I have at least an inkling on how to move forward. I hope I figure it out today and really pound out some words.

Any other plotters out there? Do you ever leave a hole so big in your outline that when you reach it in the story you just stand there staring over the edge for a while? How do you tackle the problem?

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