According to NaNoWriMo, there are two kinds of writers, “planners” and “pantsers”.
Planners write out a detailed flow-diagram for their plot and then write the story out bit by bit; they also set themselves daily goals etc.
I’m a “pantser”. We’re the ones that simply bash ahead, allowing the story to gallop away taking care of itself. Dreadful style of writing, actually. But it goes much further than that: If I see the whole plot neatly laid out, I can’t write the story anymore. Why? It is boring. I already know the plot, why bother “filling in forms”?
Similarly I have learnt over the years how some story “germs” are great and lead to full novels (and in one or two cases even to series); whereas others are dead-ends, at best suitable for a shot-story (^short-story I mean, lovely typo!). Overdone, clicheed, “bin-dunn”, unoriginal… doesn’t matter how sparkly a story germ looks at first, on closer inspection it has to work.
I started writing yesterday. That’s right. I skipped November 1 (because I was busy). And then I laid about 6600 words of track yesterday – edited, cut, slashed, rewrote, revised (it was already the second “germ” I put down for this year, I wiped out the first), and this morning, after thinking on it, this germ is absolute rubbish.
I’ll start again.
I’ll start with something completely fresh, and I won’t start until I have a block of writing time unbroken by lessons, kid-related emergencies (such as parties), demands by a school where I teach, needs to promote P’kaboo books and to organize those promotions, etc.
If I only manage to find that good germ on the 15th of November, so mote it be! It doesn’t matter. Nano is a fun challenge, but not at the cost of producing something that inspires. And if it fails to inspire me, its author – how on Earth should it inspire a reader?
Bloggies, I don’t know if I’ll meet the challenge of Nano this year. I know I can (“Arcana” the product of last year’s), but there are rules. Beyond the Nano rules. There are my own rules too. The cost of being a 100% committed pantser.