Friday, November 27, 2009

Day Twenty-Seven: Oops!

Three days to go before NaNoWriMo 2009 goes down in the history books. This week, with preparations for the Thanksgiving holiday, and cumulative exhaustion kicking in, for the first time I got a bit behind in my word count. So, today, I wrote. And then I wrote some more. And then I did some fascinating research about engagement rings in the early to mid-1800s, before writing even more.

Did you know that most of the rings were yellow gold and had carved bands? Some had single stones, and not always a diamond since diamonds were so expensive. Other bands used gemstones to spell out the word "dearest" using a diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, another emerald, sapphire, and tourmaline. Still others used a diamond as the center stone, then had one or two stones on either side. And not all bands were a regular circle. One such band, called a "bypass" ring, caught my eye because where the stones were set, one end of the ring bypassed the other, with one gemstone set on each end so the two stones "hugged" each other. I thought, what a perfect ring for my protagonist to give his intended! So, I busily wrote the scene in which he selects the ring, choosing a diamond (his intended's birthstone), and a sapphire (his birthstone). I had nearly finished the scene when I realized there was a problem: my main character has amnesia. He doesn't know who he is, where he's from, or anything about himself, so how would he know when his birthday was? Oops!

What do you do when you still have approximately 12,000 words left to write before you can upload your story, and you run into a problem? At this stage of the game, I had three choices. Delete the past hour's work and start over, have him suddenly recover a convenient portion of his memory, or keep writing and "fix" the problem during revisions after NaNo is over. Since one of the "rules" of NaNo is "NO EDITING," I decided to keep going and solve the problem when I do the revisions in January.

Even with the little "glitch" this afternoon, it was still a very productive day. I managed to add another 4000+ words to my total, with another 7,384 to go. So, my goal is to write another 4,000 Saturday, finish on Sunday, and upload the novel for word count verification on Monday before midnight. In the meantime, my story is building to its climax, and I can't wait to see what's going to happen.

Have you run into similar problems while writing your stories? Have you discovered inconsistencies in your plot, found that something you included in your story didn't exist until a later time period, or suddenly realized you'd changed the name of one of your characters without realizing it? Such things happen to us all, and that's where a good editor comes in; but that will be another topic for another day.

If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, writing furiously to finish your story before the end of the day on November 30, don't panic. Take a deep breath, keep writing, and remember that this is a first draft, and all its imperfections and inconsistencies can be worked out during the revision process. For now, just keep writing and keep the finish line in view.

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