Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bad Company: NaNoFiMo 2008

I decided not to continue writing this year's NaNoWriMo novel this month. For NaNoFiMo, I decided to pull out my '07 novel, Bad Company. I'm both rewriting previously written scenes and adding new ones to fill plot holes. I'm even adding a new and important story arc, "The Trial of the Dictel 10".

While rewriting a previous scene during my idle Christmas Eve, I realized how much better I write now than I did before BadCo burned me out in August. I've completely rewritten the Intro so that my first preview is now obsolete: the entire prologue which began with this scene is now gone, replaced by something almost completely different. Those who like this scene shouldn't worry, however; the second part of the new prologue, which follows and contradicts the new opening (the Dictel corporate spin), is a news report of just this event, edited to increase the urgency.

Chapter 1 has also undergone some pretty radical changes, too. I thought this opening was cool enough when I wrote it. But now I have Charlie overreacting for one paragraph, after which she drops the melodrama (says Ruby: "Stop it, Charlotte! You're acting like your mother!"). And I realized that the first two chapters should each act as if they were television episodes or (more accurately) issues of a comics series (a prequel to Spanner, to be exact), each a mini-movie with a cliffhanger ending. Each should build up in tension and action till the climactic cliffhanger. So my Chapter 1 preview is obsolete, too.

Both of these radical revisions occurred when I rewrote the Intro and the first two (originally four or so) chapters for NaNoFiMo. That's because, I now realize, I can write so much better now than I did when I originally wrote these two scenes for the second incomplete draft.

I only started writing again on the 23rd, almost two weeks after I last wrote (my first session for FiMo). On Christmas Eve, I managed to write several new scenes (fast) and rewrite several others (much slower). I managed to write the definitive versions of certain previously written scenes. What got me writing again? I was struggling to find some way to put the structure of Bad Company back into place. Then, the night of the 23rd, I read two books: Hooked by Les Edgerton, a book about how to open your novel; and The Triumph of Narrative by Robert Fulford. I read the former first and the latter second. Reading Hooked again after having put it on the bookshelf months ago, I realized I understood the book and its principles better than I did the first time I read it. And so I started writing, and what I wrote was the new opening: part 1 of the Intro (the Dictel propaganda video) and the first parts of chapters 1 and 2. Finally everything fell into place, and now I'm writing (and rewriting) BadCo again.

I'm currently up to 8,900 words, exactly. I have absolute confidence that I'll make FiMo's minimum recommended word target of 30,000 by the end of the year. The more I write BadCo, the more interesting it gets; the more it interests me, the more I write it. For the first time since I started writing Bad Company last November, it looks like I'll actually be able to finish it.

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