Today is day three of the 30-day challenge that is NaNoWriMo.
If you are actually doing the exercise, that is writing a minimum of 1667 words a day* you are probably feeling pretty good about yourself. Keeping up the pace is important, but so is keeping the dream alive.
When we focus too closely on one thing our vision becomes narrow. We see only what is foremost in our minds, and much of what we had intended so say and do goes by the wayside.
This morning I wrote a new beginning to my NaNo novel, a chapter zero, if you will. It doesn’t replace what I’d already written, but it does augment nicely–as well as enhancing word count.
Why did I do it? Because my first beginning, while serviceable, had no sound.
What? Yeah, that’s right. No sound. I had visuals, a bit of kinestetics, a lot of narration, but not a bit of sound. The new version has the sound of a rusty handle being turned on a faucet. It has the sound of water gurgling into a sink, and it has the sound of old pipes knocking as they cool after the water is turned off.
No, I didn’t just add the sounds of plumbing. I added scents, and feeling as sell… and this addition better rounded out the scenes.
Sure, this may seem like writing 101 to you, but I’ve been writing for a number of years, and I know that sometimes the story takes over from the craft, and while the inner editor needs to be off most of the time during NaNoWriMo, remembering the craft of writing is a good thing.
Now, here’s the secret I promised. Read.
Oh, come on. Read? I read all the time! (See? I can hear your thoughts). But here’s the point. Reading books like the one you are writing will remind you of your craft as you design your story and push the action forward.
Assuming that you aren’t spending every free moment writing your NaNo novel, consider reading, too. But not just reading, think about reading a book that has the look and feel that best fits the work you’re doing. Why? Because of pace, because of flow, and because of vocabulary. Allow yourself to be reminded both how the books you love are written, and of the kind of craft that has already made it to print.
If this is a big “duh” to you, I can but apologize, but if this reminder helps, let me know.
* Trust me on this, 2k words a day minimum will serve you better.