Now What? (As If I Didn’t Know) by Nevada McPherson
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Nevada McPherson as she shares with us “Now What? (As If I Didn’t Know).” Enjoy!
I finished my NaNoWriMo project on time but “finished” isn’t maybe quite the right word.
Let’s say I finished the required word count on time and I have all the material I need to complete a novel, but it’s like a big craggy piece of stone that has a long way to go to become a sculpture. I adapted my script about the life and times of silent film director Erich von Stroheim.
All was going well until I ran out of script about halfway through my novel word count.
Of course I knew I would go back and fill in much more detail as I worked on the rewrite, but to get to the rewrite I had to get the original down on paper.
I had a storyline but didn’t know exactly where my some of my new material would fit in so I just typed!
In a perfect world I would have read back over it a few times, to more carefully assemble things, but I got a rather late start. Instead of beginning on November 1, I started typing my novel well into the second week of November, which meant an even higher daily word count.
I’m a firm believer in free-writing as a way to break through the inertia of staring at a blank page, usually on paper, but this time to keep going I just kept typing.
These frequent “word sprints” took me to places I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. My word sprints took me through the streets of old Hollywood and the shadows of the early sound stages, into the diners and coffee shops of L.A., up mountain trails and down a quaint street in pre-war Vienna at night after the opera.
Meeting a high word count in a short amount of time can be quite daunting, but if it hadn’t been for that I might have missed things about my story that I’m now excited to explore further.
When I work on my rewrite in January and February I’ll have much more raw material to shape into a great story.
Now that I know I want to include some new things I can do a bit more focused research so that I don’t get lost in the research, but if I’m looking for something specific I can find it and move on with the story I already know I want to tell (sometimes it’s easy to get lost in the research—as I’ve discussed in an earlier post!).
I’m glad I participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo, even if it was difficult at times. I learned some new ways to keep moving forward when I might have otherwise felt stuck, and I got back into the habit of writing every day, which is priceless!
If you were a NaNoWriMo winner this year, congratulations! If you didn’t quite finish, or just ran out of time, there’s always next year, and more importantly, there’s always right now!
Have a great holiday season, and whenever you take a moment of quiet time for yourself—happy writing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nevada McPherson lives with her husband Bill and rescue Chihuahua, Mitzi in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is an associate professor of Humanities at Georgia Military College. Nevada received a BA in English/Creative Writing and an MFA in Screenwriting from Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge. She has written over a dozen feature-length screenplays, plays, short stories and the graphic novels, Uptowners and Piano Lessons. Queensgate, the sequel to Uptowners, is her third graphic novel. For more information, visit www.nevada-mcpherson.com.