NaNoWriMo. Day Four. What the hell was I thinking?

Posted: November 4, 2011 in NaNoWriMo
Tags: , , ,

Word count: 8,808

I mean, really? What was I thinking about when I decided to write this story? I’m not going to bore you with the details of it. Besides, you can buy it when it’s published and I’m rich and famous.

Yeah, right! It sure doesn’t seem that way right now. I thought my story would be easy to tell. I have it outlined and all I’m trying to do is follow the outline.

Why didn’t anyone tell me that the outline doesn’t mean shit when suddenly you have characters showing up out of nowhere and won’t leave?  An outline is supposed to be how your book begins and ends with a bunch of stuff in the middle, right?

Wrong! Oh no, not for me apparently. It seems that while I’m writing, if I have a thought about a scene or a character, suddenly I am writing something that isn’t even planned. It’s like I’m possessed.

But then I’ve got to explore the idea and see where it goes. Because I have to. I HAVE TO.

Sure, it’s great for the word count and is probably one of the reasons I’m a bit ahead of target. That plus I’m blowing off everything I can in order to write this month. So I realize it’s about the quantity more than the quality.

But that is a lie that I tell myself because the quality of what I write IS more important than the quantity.

My story is starting to get complicated. I’ve turned off my inner editor and am slugging it out, but I had hoped to keep this story simple and lean and it’s not cooperating with me. At all. Whatsoever.

How well do you follow your outline?

  1. dee says:

    My outline took a flying leap out the window on Day Two. This does not bode well for me for the rest of the month.
    But I will KEEP WRITING.
    And so will you!

  2. What outline? I go into a story with a beginning and an end and some vague ideas about a middle, and then spend the first two weeks of NaNoWriMo trying to find the story. Which they have every year so far. They even come up with themes and story arcs. (Though at least one of my characters has already figured out his story arc for this year. Now if only the MC would show that kind of initiative!)

    That said, just remember: You are the author. YOU are in control. Yes, it’s okay to let your characters surprise and amuse you. But ultimately, you are the one in charge.

    (If the characters are that insistent? Perhaps they need to be pulled out of this story and saved for one of their own later?)

    • Susan Lewis says:


      This is the first time I’ve done an outline and it’s really more of a first draft from a story I started 2 years ago and put aside. It’s something in-between, I think!

      You make a good point on using the characters for another time. I think that’s what’s happening – I’ll have a couple of ideas that are really separate books and I’m trying to put them all together.

      Very sage advice! Thank you!

  3. nikkinm says:

    I have no outline, and I certainly have seen some unplanned characters enter my story. I had four main characters planned out, and a fifth one has suddenly entered. The other four characters, I spent time before NaNoWriMo getting to know them, but this fifth character… I know nothing about him. I do know that he’s quite older than my other characters and that one of my four main characters has taken a liking to him. We shall see what happens.

    • Susan Lewis says:


      Maybe they will fall in love? LOL

      I have a character that I need to bring into the story, but I’m not sure exactly when. The story as gotten too “one sided” but its OK for now.