Friday, December 16, 2011

My First Post-NaNoWriMo Chapter

Two nights this week, I sat at my daughter's martial arts class and worked on a new chapter to a novel I started last spring (Betrayal in the sidebar).  I had prepared a detailed outline, character sketches, and chapter openings. I had the thing sectioned into five logical parts and even wrote the ending. When my medical issues climaxed over the summer, I set it aside. 

I figured I could easily pick it up again since I had the outline and the first ten thousand words.  But the last chapter I wrote ended in January; the next one needed to jump to June. The issue is I need to get to June without recounting the details of the time between while also connecting the January chapter to the June one. Tricky.

I just came out of NaNoWriMo mode, where you write for quantity, not quality.  I cannot say how much that did not - will not ever - work for me.  I'm a fast writer, like well more than 1000 words a hour, but writing blind is not good for me.  It's hard to start writing again in 'normal' mode after spending a month writing differently followed by two weeks of not writing at all. 

So I took a paper journal with me to karate class.  I haven't used a pen and paper to write a chapter in a very long time, but I needed to slow it down a bit.  I needed to figure out what I wanted to write and how I would get from January to June without going to the months in the middle.  I wanted to get back to writing images that stick with you instead of counting words.  It was the equivalent of sketching before painting.  It felt good, like the exact way I needed to approach it.

Both nights, people kicked pads through the air, broke boards, and did all their karate things while I jotted down thoughts and dialogue and perfected the subtle details of the chapter.  Last night I added one scene to the chapter that made me want to cry, I felt so bad for the main character. 

As I held back my tears, I imagined how a class full of teens and adults who were in complete bad-ass mode would react if I started crying while writing in my notebook with my feet propped up on a chair. 

I kept writing until I ended of the chapter (no tears).  As I watched the last few minutes of class, I realized how good it feels to be back to writing again, writing how I like to do it - crafting details with a crowd of people around me who have know idea what I'm doing.  Today I'm feeling bad-ass too.


  1. I've written during my son's karate class too. I'm sure people had no idea what I was up to. And I usually do write down my chapter sketches in a notebook first. For some reason I'm sometimes able to better organize my thoughts with a pen and paper. Probably because it does force me to go slower.

  2. That's awesome! I'm glad you found your groove again--that always feels great. :D (I've written during my son's Taekwondo class so many times that the owner finally asked me what I was always doing on my laptop. ;))

  3. Glad you're back in the mode! And you might freak out those kids if you started crying. They would think they'd accidentally kicked you or something.

  4. LG - I think it helps, especially if you don't have the details all set in your mind already. It was a very low pressure way to get back into writing this one.

    Laura - It really does feel great! I like to write in a rather busy coffee shop - somehow being quiet in the middle of a crowd helps.

    Alex - Thanks! They were mostly adult men - probably would freak out worse than kids would. I almost got nailed in the head at one point. I would have screamed like a girl if I had seen it coming.

  5. I love writing, especially to get my feelings out in the open, but I once tried writing things by hand. Yeah, it definitely didn't work for me. I'm glad it did for you, though!

    I often sit down on the couch at night while my husband is watching The Big Bang Theory and blog. Occasionally, he'll be laughing at something on tv, and he'll look over at me and I'm crying my eyes out. Not from laughter, but because my writing has reached my soul deeper than I thought it ever would.

  6. Glad you're feeling bad ass. :)

    I finally have a roadmap for my two WIPs, and started picking up the pace. Of course, now I have all this crap to do this weekend to break the momentum. Hope I get it back next week. Probably in time to give it up again. :)

  7. You have a right to feel bad-ass! Wow, you write at a 1000-wd. per hour clip?

    That's, uh, cookin.'

    Hope things are well! Couldn't abandon one of my biggest poetry fans! You're one of the reasons I started up the poetic engines again.

    Keep on keeping on, Tonja!

  8. Aliciamarie - I usually laugh while I'm writing more than anything.

    MPax - That's great you've got your groove on too. I'm not sure anyone will have a chance of avoiding interruptions over the next two weeks - I'm hoping January will be very productive. :)

    Bryce - It's so nice to hear from you again. I am definitely a big fan. That's sweet of you to say I had anything remotely to do with any of your successes. I'm confident it's all you. :)