Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 14

New blog post at The Vanishing Blog. Why Brandon Sanderson's The Alloy of Law is a cheeseburger. Also explained, why the above statement makes the book awesome!

Go check it out.

"Good books don't give up all their secrets at once."
-Stephen King
Hey, remember that picture of a kitty in a glass? We were in quite a bind then, weren't we?
Yep, now we're in a double-bind.
Yeah, it's been a while, as usual for the weekends.

Good news, though, I'm back, and I'm almost back on track for the month.

In related news, I've been reading a lot of stuff today from Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, KW Jeter, Joe Konrath, Lee Goldberg, and David Gaughran about the self-publishing model. (Did anyone know that there were SO MANY self-pubbing authors passionate enough about the idea that they basically crusade against the current publishing industry on a daily basis? Apparently this idea has some weight to it. Who knew?)

Obviously, this has gotten me to thinking quite a bit about what kind of writer I want to be in the professional realm of things. But that's not a discussion for us to have right now. (It's a discussion for me and my family to have, first of all, and it's also not a discussion to consider when you're knee-deep in slogging through word counts. [Are you ever not slogging through word counts, Josh?])

Almost done with week two, and the issues with the middle seem to have multiplied.

We'll talk about the midpoint (25,000 words) and where you should be by then tomorrow, when week two actually begins.

For now, let's just say that, while I look to be on track for the word counts, I'm hopelessly behind in the pacing. This is probably going to push into 60,000+ words again if I'm going to follow the structure effectively, and even then it looks like the pacing is going to be a bit uneven.

Ah well, at least it'll be done. I'm certainly enjoying it so far, and the roadblocks here in the middle haven't been impossible to overcome. Simply...difficult.

As I said at the beginning of this process: "Look for the conflict in every scene." It's served me really well. If I'm not sure what to do with the scene, or how to make a certain plot development interesting, I simply shove a conflict in where there was none before. Oftentimes, this conflict will lead to even more developments and revelations than I had initially anticipated (or even thought I needed).

That brings me to the above quote. Stephen King's wisdom is true at all points in a novel:

If you reveal all the secrets at the beginning, then there is no suspense in the middle.
If you reveal all the secrets in the middle, then there is no resolution at the end.
If you reveal all the secrets at the end, then there is no reward along the way.

A gradual revelation of mysteries. Scattered pockets of explanation. These kinds of techniques are best when it comes to unveiling the secrets of your story.

As a writer, I'm always looking forward to "the big reveal." It's often what frustrates me about writing the middle. I've already setup the characters and settings and events and mysteries (or so I think), and now I can't wait to see the look on your face when I pull the carpet out from under your feet to show you that all you think you know is a LIE!

I forget that I need to drop these little rewards throughout the book, and that I need to develop the things I've established in the beginning in order to make the reader care and prepare them for that eventual revelation.

Hopefully, I'll grow more comfortable at this with practice, and so will you.

Until next time...
-josh k.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Progress
Today: 1,959/1,666 words.
So far: 22,200/23,333 words.
Total: 22,200/50,000 words.

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