Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 - Day 15

"Read aloud. Look up words. Study grammar. These three things will take your writing to levels you never dreamed of."
-M. Todd Gallowglas
Sometime, this is how I feel. I sit there peering into the screen and inside I'm screaming, "WHY WON'T YOU MOVE, YOU STUPID, BLINKING CURSOR!!!"
Sometimes, I get a bit over-dramatic with myself.

I refuse to miss a midweek post. I absolutely will not stand for it.

So here it is. A bit late, because that's how the writing has been today. But here it is nonetheless.

Once again, lots of interesting stuff I've been reading today about self-publishing from all these lovely people.

Like I said, interesting stuff. Kinda scary that I'm considering this stuff again. But there you go. It's a scary, difficult road you walk as a creative person -- no matter which route you take.

Right, so, on with the reflections and advice.

Honestly, it's difficult for me to write this one, because I haven't gotten to the midpoint yet.

Wait, wait, backing up.

Let's talk about the midpoint!

(Okay, there we go.)

I'm a bit behind. Not just in word counts, but also structurally. Apparently my chapters have been stretching a bit farther than the 2,500 word mark that I had set for myself at the beginning of the month. So, when it's all combined, I'm right about at the 25,000 word mark (midpoint), yet I'm just barely wrapping up chapter 9 (not quite midpoint).

So I can't actually talk about the midpoint too much from experience, but I can address the theory behind it.

The midpoint is where something fundamentally changes. There's a shift in the tone that sets your reader up for the big spiral down into act three.

The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet, which I talked about last month, uses this point as a major part of its structure. Dan Wells' story structure presentation also discuses this moment, I think.

Breaking it down into examples a bit more, the nature of this point depends largely on the type of story you're writing. If your character has been facing setback after setback throughout the first part of the story, this is the moment where things start to go right for a change. There's that brief, shining beacon of possibility that maybe all their problems aren't as bad as they seem, but then things will come crashing down around them for the next several thousand words before you break into Act Three and the climax/resolution.

Alternatively, if your character has had some tentative success thus far in the story, they've been making consistent progress toward their goal and everything, this is the moment where suddenly things become a lot worse and something sets of the dominoes that, as I mentioned above, cause things to come crashing down around them for the next several thousand words before you break into Act Three and the climax/resolution.

Now, having explained all that, I have to make a confession: I cheated this year. I'm doing both.

You'll have to wait for me to post the chapters (once I've written them, that is) to see this play out, but I have both a brief victory and a sudden misfortune occur for my protagonist almost immediately after each other, centering around this midpoint. I'm not sure if it's going to work, but I think it has the potential to be very effective. Especially since, in this case, the two events are directly related to one another and have consequences leading all the way up to the climax (as I've envisioned it, at least. We'll see how things really pan out when we get there.)

I'm really excited about this point in the story, but I'm really surprised by how quickly it came up. Note to self for the future, pay closer attention to the approaching midpoint!

Until next time...
-josh k.

NaNoWriMo 2011 Progress
Today: 1,122/1,666 words.
So far: 24,041/25,000 words.
Total: 24,041/50,000 words.

(And now it's back to the grindstone...)

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