Yesterday I sat myself down in front of the computer and did not allow myself to leave until I got caught up with the word count: day 12 – 20,000 words. I wrote 5,900some words (in a single day!) to meet and slightly exceed par. This morning I wrote 1964 words – and boy are my arms tired 🙂 It feels great.
I set a goal for myself and I met it, which gave me the mental calm and sense of accomplishment, the emotional space, shall we say, to enjoy both the birthday party and the prelim celebration I was invited to. What a great Saturday: record word count production, met the big bad of my novel, got to visit with family, family friends, friends and meet new people (and talk writing). It was a balmy mild day and evening, so biking to the two parties was quite lovely as well.
At the prelim celebration, I talked with a fellow writer; he’s an editor and published author. I mentioned that I had finally met the antagonist of my NaNoWriMo novel, and that while writing her, I discovered some creepy disturbing things. There were even a couple moments where I wondered if I could write about the stuff that I was discovering! He said yes, I do need to write it, I need to write that and I need to write it all. It is important not to stop, to write it all. Later, when editing, I can decide which of it to keep. But the generative process, the process of discovery is not the point to hold back and edit.
And of course he’s correct. I need to learn everything about my characters; we must become intimate, I must know the secrets no one else knows about. I can decide to keep those secrets, or not, but I must know them. How else am I going to write convincing characters? If I do not know their secrets, their weaknesses, their desires, the motivations they don’t even know they have, character development will be flat or predictable at best, or cliche and unbelievable at worst. And you won’t want to read it.
And if I, the writer, am not surprised by the story, how can you, the reader, possibly be surprised?
My sister and I have that motto: “It doesn’t matter. Keep writing.” It certainly applies to yesterday’s dilemma. Those two moments of doubt, when I was not sure that what I was writing was appropriate… well it doesn’t matter if it’s appropriate or not, or whether I think it’s appropriate. I must keep writing.
And I did. All 5911 words.