So I was thinking about the Old Races Short Story Project, and about the fact that if they’re ever collected into a book I clearly need to write at least one story to go before the chronologically-first one I have now, because it’s pretty sad. But it’s also fairly early in terms of Old Races history, so I was trying to think of stuff that would come before, and suddenly I had an Epiphany! about the origin of the Old Races.
And I could not come home and write that short story even though I REALLY WANTED TO, because I’m still trying to catch up on Nanowrimo and have So. Much. Else. to do. But I did write the first and last lines so I’d remember, and then I went to work on The Ilialiad.
1200 words into today’s writing, I realized abruptly that the question I had asked on Twitter yesterday–should my nearly-drowned hero be rescued by 1. his fleet, 2. strangers, 3. mermaids?–had been answered incorrectly (by me, not by Twitterati, some of whom did answer correctly), and I had to throw out 3000 words.
Throwing out 3000 words is not something one wants to do when Nanoing*. :p Actually, I think they’re largely salvagable, and I’m keeping them in the file so I can keep my wordcount on track, but as it turns out there was a way and a reason for him to be rescued by strangers, and it was obvious, once I realized it, that that was in fact what was supposed to happen.
On one hand, this is the danger of writing without an outline. On the other hand, remarkably, the mistake/realization hit at the 1/3rd point–19K into what is theoretically a 60K book–and nearly every damned book I’ve written, with or without a synopsis (mostly with, mind you), at the 1/3rd mark I’ve hit a wall and had to go back and fix things. So I’m not at all certain having the synopsis would have made much difference.
It’s also kind of fascinating to be writing a book totally freestyle for the first time in 7 years. Having had my hero rescued by strangers, I know I now need to 1. figure out what he learns from them (& teaches them), 2. figure out how he escapes, and 3. figure out how what he learns from them feeds into the larger plot.
Ten years ago I would have hacked my way through all of those things and only realized what was happening with them after I’d managed the heavy lifting. Now I actually recognize exactly what I need to do and why, even if I don’t know the details of doing it yet. That’s a kind of cool discovery to make. I mean, one does hope one is learning something, after all, but it’s nice to have it verified. :)
*If you tell me that’s Not How Nano Is Done, I will politely invite you not to teach your grandmother to suck eggs. I really don’t give a shit How Nano Is Done. For me, the fun of Nano is the month-long camaraderie of everybody trying to get 50K on the page, not following their strict guidelines about Doin’ it Rite.(x-posted from the essential kit)