Ok, so day 13 and 14 are in the bag. As you can see from the above graphic, I had a good day yesterday. I stopped at 2000 because I wanted to watch The Walking Dead. I could have carried on, I think, but 2000 words is not something I’m complaining about.
I am part way through my third story of the collection I am writing for this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I am hoping to get first drafts completed of at least 5 new stories, but depending on how long each story runs, it could be as many as 6 or 7. I don’t write with a word count in mind, instead letting the story draw to a natural conclusion in its own time.
The story I’m writing at the moment is going by the imaginative title of Serial Killer. It’s a working title, okay? When I sat down to begin writing last night, I thought the story was almost concluded. I just had the final scene to wrap up, and that would be that. But I was wrong. The final scene felt rushed, so before I had written too much, I checked back and inserted another scene. This scene covers the killer’s early life and in particular, his first kill. I’m writing this post before I start my NaNo work, so i’m looking forward to telling more of this man’s story. Depending on how the remaining parts go, I might even look to expand it to novella length, or even novel, but that’s something to worry about later.
So have I learned anything over the last 3 days?
I think I have. I’ve learned that no matter how much you plan your story, sometimes it takes you in a different direction. When that happens, you have 2 choices:
- Stick with the original plan – you’ve spent time devising the story, coming up with a plot, finishing with a killer twist. There is nothing inherently wrong with this approach. You will end up with a well thought out story, hitting all the key plot points, correctly using the three-act structure. Everything the writing manuals teach you.
- Go off piste – you could follow this new strand of the story and see where it takes you. It might lead to something that was totally unexpected. Sure, the bits may not fit together well, but that’s what editing is for, right?
Felt ultra tired again this week. Getting started yesterday was hard, and I ended up not sitting in front of my Mac until a bit later in the evening. However, once I started, i made good progress and finding the new story strand just when I thought I had finished, gave me the extra push to get me to 2000 words in a short space of time.
Still tired today (day 15), but i’m still excited to get back to the story. I just need to finish this post!
I’ll finish off today with another excerpt from yesterdays NaNo piece. It’s more from the imaginatively name Serial Killer. As before, it’s a first draft:
Alex stared at him for several seconds. She couldn’t get a reading from his face. It gave nothing away. She would have to let him play out his fantasy and hope there was something in there that she could use. She motioned him to continue.
“Like I was saying, my first kill of that deer acted like some kind of gateway. Skinning and gutting that deer was exhilarating. Exhilarating. My father let me paint my face with the blood of the animal. We took strips of meat from it and ate them raw, right there in the forest. Watching the life drain out of that animal did something to me. Something that I’ve been chasing ever since. Do you know what that’s like? To take the life of a lower species?”
“No, Stuart. I’ve never taken the life of anything.” Her patience was wearing thin. If there was no useful information coming her way, then she was wasting her time here.
“Then you’ve been missing out. I feel sorry for you. You will know, then you will understand.”
“Okay, so you were born in Europe. How did you come to England?” Alex would humour him for a while longer, at least.
“The exact order that things happened in is hazy. I remember my childhood. Ansas the boy, hunting with his father. What my father didn’t know, was that I hunted on my own. I spent those early years hunting game: rabbits, birds, deer. I wasn’t a man when I killed someone else, perhaps in my early teenage years.
“There was a farm next to our village. The farmer was a good man who helped my father on our own farm when times were hard. I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.”
“He was your first kill, then?” Alex was working hard to keep the disbelief out of her voice.
“Not him. His daughter.”