Day 8: Your Novel is Dough

Day 8 brings with it a word count goal of 13,333. I haven't touched my novel yet today, but if this counts (and I think it does), I did think about my novel at three in the morning last night when I couldn't sleep for about an hour. I was trying to dig deeper into my antagonist's motivations to get a better sense of his goals. You have to dig deep like this during the first draft as well as during revisions. It's how you cook the story into something great.

Then, I was talking with my mother earlier today about this whole NaNoWhyMe and had an epiphany about first drafts. Because I'm not stingy with epiphanies, I thought I would share it with you as well.

If you're getting frustrated with the fluffiness or blandness of your first draft novel right about now, then there's something you need to remember: your first draft is dough and that's what it is supposed to be.

You're in the process of adding ingredients (flour, milk, sugar, salt, eggs)[characters, plot, action, pacing] and mixing them together. The only possible thing you're going to get when you do this is dough. It's mushy, sticky, doesn't have any set shape, and doesn't taste very good. Expect this. Embrace it.

A finished novel, one you have spent time revising (not just line editing) and reworking into a good story, now that is bread. Bread is the deliciousness others can sink their teeth into and really chew. If you make good enough bread, it will also nourish and fill your readers, and leave them wanting more.

In short, don't get discouraged if your first draft is doughy. There is a lot going on there. The ingredients are blending, liquid and dried parts are becoming a homogeneous mixture, and the dough is rising. These are all things you want to have happen in November. That is the point of NaNoWriMo or any other first draft process. Go with it. Later on you can punch the dough down, knead it, and bake it into an edible loaf.

What's the hardest part of writing  your NaNo first draft for you so far?

1 comment:

  1. ...but I don't want to eat my novel. It'll taste like feet, I know.

    To be honest, I started an outline before hand, I came up with plot devices and a decent story arc, and as usual: as I wrote the novel, everything changed from the first page.

    /Sigh. Now I'm writing about a talking poly-dactyl cat.