I was just thinking…the definition of a writer in four words.
In a few days it will be over. National Novel Writing Month 2015 will come to a close and you know what? I’m gonna win it! I have not yet validated my novel on the NaNoWriMo site but between two documents I have around 80,000 words for my next novel. Sounds impressive right? That is a lot of words, it is impressive, except for the fact that I don’t know what to do with all of them. It’s far more irritating than the burning sting above my right eye caused by a rough brow wax. I’m over the required 50k to win NaNoWriMo and just yesterday I seriously thought about scraping the whole thing.
I’ve pre-written and planned and I know what mile markers I need to hit, but still everything I’ve written is in splices. Perhaps it would be easier if the story were fiction instead of true, my first novel was fiction and I got through that one. It might be easier if I got to fill in the gaps with whatever I saw fit but I can’t. I’d be lying and I hate lying. The book I’m writing now is a memoir of the past few years of my life. It’s the kind of true story where I had to change names to protect the guilty. Some of it I would not even believe had I not lived it myself.
It’s a good story, full of a multitude of relatable things and characters that are beautifully flawed. I just don’t know how to make the pieces fit. My memory works vividly, everything I remember is in scenes with an eerie amount of detail. That’s it! What if I just pictured this memoir that way?
If I take the 80k words and focus on the ones I see most clearly, if I write in scenes I might be able to connect the dots. Maybe in order to write this memoir I need to write it like it’s a movie, highlight the most vivid frames and then since it is a book I can elaborate as needed, sort of like a Director’s Cut. This just might work. NaMoWriMo? I could see it. So now, if I’m adapting a book into a movie what does that look like? What scenes are involved?
Screenwriting tip from John Rogers writer of TNT’s Leverage:
1) who wants what? 2) why can’t they have it? 3) why do I care? If what I’ve written so far works with those key questions this could be one great novel! Planning helps and pre-writing is good but at the end of the day, if you’re a writer all you want to do is write, on a napkin if need be because for some reason one of your forty notebooks can’t be found. The compelling urge to pair up the words, writers know this, it’s what we do.
That is what NaNoWriMo was created for after all, to get writers writing. How good it turns out is not really the point. Write the words. Period. I have written them, more than I need, now I just have to put them in the right order. In this last week of the competition I’m going to set aside my outlines and planners and instead I’ll draft a series of scenes on index cards and then I’ll put them in order. After that I’ll do what I was made to do. “Arrange the pieces as they come.”-Virginia Woolf