It’s December. What Now?

I’ve spent the first week and a half of December twiddling my thumbs. I brainstormed a bit on a short story. Then I brainstormed a bit on this one novel I started in December of 2014, but struggled with. I’m still struggling with it. I just can’t seem to make the stakes high enough. Then I did a couple of critiques for some friends of mine who are writers. Mostly, I’ve spent the last few days just screwing around and trying to find some post-NaNoWriMo direction.

Yesterday morning, I opened up my NaNo novel. It’s not the roughness of the draft that bothers me, it’s the plot that just doesn’t seem to work. I frowned and closed it again and played some World of Warcraft.

This morning I opened it again. And stared at it. And closed it. I ended NaNoWriMo disliking my story, and I couldn’t figure out why. It just went from interesting to bland. Somewhere in the month of November, I lost what was so cool about the story. I don’t know how I lost it, but I did.

I stared at my computer again, and considered just playing a little more World of Warcraft, but something kept me from clicking the WoW icon. I knew I needed to face this, so I opened the story again. Then I started writing. I didn’t write anything particular. Mostly I asked myself questions about why the plot wasn’t working for me. Some answers came to me. Some didn’t. I worked through a few of the seven plot points Dan Wells laid out in his Seven Point Plot Structure video (more on this in a later post). I realized that I had made some choices early on in the story because I liked my character and didn’t want to hurt her. In retrospect, those choices I made were not the right ones for the story.

I found some answers, but mostly what I discovered is that just writing about it helped me feel less defeated. It helped me to see that what I had done in NaNoWriMo wasn’t a complete waste of time.

I still don’t have a solid plan for the rest of December. I want to say that I will devote the month to working out the problems in my NaNoWriMo novel so that in January I can jump right in and start writing it again. Maybe tomorrow I will be ready to make that commitment. It sounds good on paper, but I just need to find that spark again, and the only way to find that spark is to just keep writing. So that’s what I will do. Whether I’m writing my NaNo novel or working out ideas for short stories or working on that older novel that just will not cooperate, I just need to keep writing.

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