Drop back and punt-NaNo style

I’m not very good at sports analogies, but this one seemed appropriate for my progress on the new book.  I am about at page 60 or so where things should be starting to really roll, the story laid out and moving forward–and as I was looking at my three-page synopsis and writing out the day’s dialog to turn into text, I suddenly realized that my plot had evaporated due to little changes along the way.  This is not unusual.  Let me say that again.  This is not unusual.  It happens enough that I’ve learned not to panic, but just get my clipboard back out and solidify some new goals.

Sometimes, the difference between the writer who finishes a book and the one who has five manuscripts going but nothing done–is decided here.  If you’re one of the latter, take heart that this is not an uncommon issue, nor is it a reflection on your writing skills.  It just means that things have changed and you need to take a day or two and jot down a few goals and rebuild a story to address them.  In my case, I had to reassess and define the issue of the entire book, what the end goal was, and what the complication is.  I then had to go back and brainstorm five things my main character has to do in order to get there.  I also used the addition of a new character to push things into high gear, which worked out wonderfully since he complicates and involves everything wonderfully.  But the main point to this post is that plots fall apart.  The professional does not abandon them, but pushes it all back together and finds the new goal, issue, and complications, and continues on.  Today I should make some good progress and be back where I want to be by Thursday.

And, since I was at my clipboard yesterday, getting very little done on the keyboard, I took the time to change a few names.  If I have to stop and remember my main character’s name repeatedly, I know I’ve chosen the wrong one.  Taylor is out, Peri is in.  For now.  I don’t like names ending in a vowel, but there it is.

Also, the voting for the preliminaries is over at Goodreads and we are two days into the semi finals, but I don’t see any change over at the website.  If you’ve not voted for your favorite in each category, maybe it’s not too late?  Goodreads, choice award, favorite book of 2011


Filed under Drama Box

24 responses to “Drop back and punt-NaNo style

  1. wickedcoolflight reblogged this on wickedcoolflight and commented: Not sure if this really clears things up, but it’s moving in the right direction.

  2. SeattleRobin

    Another great post! I laughed out loud when I read: “I suddenly realized that my plot had evaporated”. I got this mental image of you blinking in bemusement as your plot wafted away before your very eyes, leaving only a few tendrils of trailing mist. Not laughing because it happened, of course!

    I’m in the unusual spot of having my beginning set, my ideas for the middle feeling solid, but no clue about the latter part and the end. I thought the middle is where you’re supposed to get bogged down. This is why I’m not a good pantser. I’m hoping something will occur to me sometime in the coming week…

  3. AKR (Trinidad)

    OK out of all of that … I got….
    ” I don’t like names ending in a vowel, but there it is.”
    Lol … so I ask … Why ?

    My name ends in a vowel … it’s not so bad ….lol 🙂

    Have a great week all … ❤ ❤ ❤

    AKR (Trinidad)

    • Names ending in vowels tend to sound soft, and I try to give my protagonists a no-nonsence feel right from the start. That’s all. Please don’t think I’m poking fun at your name. Most female names end in vowels. It’s how we roll. 🙂

  4. One day I’m going to sit down and actually plan a story out and finish it rather than just writing unconnected scenes that pop into my head. Your idea of actually writing down what I want to happen to my characters is a really big help to me. Keep going on that NaNo project, we might be reading it in print soon.

  5. jkh

    With all your brothers and sons of the masculine ilk, whaddaya mean you don’t get sports metaphors??? [laughing]

    This is a great post on doing the writer thing — really doing it. Thank you so much!

  6. Boy, your blog today was just what I needed. I was writing along this morning and realized I’d just written the perfect lead-in to a scene that I’d already written back in chapter 2. Once I thought about it, I realized that the scene really needed to be moved much later in the novel. “Drop back and punt” is a much more positive sports analogy than “throw in the towel,” so tomorrow I’m going to spend some time rethinking my basic outline before continuing.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • SiSi, that is fantastic that you are self-editing and not afraid to move things around. Congrats! That is a huge step toward building a more professional manuscript. Yay!

  7. Oh yeah!! i did vote already!! couldnt miss it!!

  8. Thanks for th advice Kim!–Istarted my Nano out running had my outline and stuff ready and manoh man i typed 2000-3000 a day then i hit the plot ick found i needed some new characters or should i saw names for bodies and missing people oh and yeaj i still havent found my Villian. Things changed for me too i had a character haunt me all weekend i hand wrote some of his suggestions and dilouge thinking i have lost my count and where i am .then yesterday something struck me a shocker for me. i was like no way then it just hit me hmmm . so i jotted it all down(still no typing lol)and found it changes my entire series but would be for the better. But can i really do this to my favorite? Gonna have too.butnow i got two days worth of handwritten words i can type in a few days ! so it wasnt a wasted wekend after all. I am so glad to hear the pros hit these walls too!! i keep going. i try to not start too many manuscripts i got a couple btu most i have i try to stay on my series its my goal and i had it at 4 and concluding there but had a five. th new change may take away number five though lol!! Good luck kim. i got to go namee some dead bodies so i can try to type today i am at 29,592 so far but had a slow weekend hoping to get backon track soon!

    • That’s wonderful, Cathy! Not being afraid to do the hard thing will go a long way in upping your confidence in your own work. Go for it!
      By the way, you’re much farther along than me! I’ve got some catching up to do.

  9. Shirls

    Hi Kim
    Thanks for this great post. I really feel encouraged to revisit my four unfinished and one finished-but -never-looked at-again Nano novels. Having spent the last month revisiting all the Hollows books to date (as audiobooks) I have to say they are just as good the second time around. I’m looking forward the next one. I voted for Pale Demon in the semi finals – thanks for the heads up on that. Also thanks for directing me to Good Reads – what a brilliant place to find new books as well as favourite authors.

    • Hi Shirls. Excellent! I hope you tear right back into them and move forward.

      Thank you for the vote! I really appreciate that.

      I’ve not gotten into Goodreads, either, but wow, I have to change that. It is an excellent site.

  10. James R. Fox

    Hi Ms Kim-Its jim from Warren.Sorry I haven’t been on, other people use these comps too.Smudge and I had another Kim Harrison weekend,since it takes me so long to read print, and we are both left with a burning question,Who changes Rex’s litter box? I vote for Rachel,Smudge voted for Ivy.Devin, that felinophobe didn’t say.Have a totally creative week if I can’t get back.

  11. Lisa

    Hey Kim,
    Just wanted to make sure everyone votes for blood work in the graphic novel category as well.

  12. Tim Collins

    Sounds more like 4th down and long…..