Ok, folks, I’m here. Moving into Camp NaNoWriMo (and there’s already mail in my box! Gee, thanks, Mom!). My published goal: 35,000 words by 31 July. Considering I’m working with a draft that’s at nearly 81,000, the word count won’t be the challenge. Instead, I’ll be working on a massive revision. Here are my real goals:
1. Delete delete delete. Too many scenes, many of which don’t move the plot forward. It will hurt, because I labored over each of these, but after letting the MS sit for 3 years, I think I have the distance needed to pull out the shears and ruthlessly cut back. I always hated when my parents hired the tree man to lop limbs off our trees, but I know now that this always made the tree healthier. Same goes for my writing.
2. Collapse time. Right now the MS covers too many months. To intensify the suspense, I need to reconfigure the plot. Since this is historical fiction, tied to real events, it means I have to think carefully about which ones are critical to the plot. Can I just refer to the thing that happened in June and place all the action in July and August? This will take some thinking, fiddling, experimenting. All very interesting, I hope!
3. Take more of me OUT of the MS. Since this was my first completed novel, much of it is — say it with me now — autobiographical. I probably had to write those scenes, sort of like a data dump for all those memories. Now they’re in one place, I can pack them away and not think about them any longer. (I think that’s what a data dump is.)
4. And this is the most critical and also the most difficult: drop my MCs into events that force them to act rather than just react. This will be my biggest challenge. If I can’t do this, then the MS is dead.
Ok, I’m ready. What tent am I in? And is it too late to request veggie meals?