We’re just past the half-way mark for NaNoWriMo, and I’m thrilled to announce that I am right on schedule. I’ve finally managed to make some decent headway into this new story. It’s still no better than a very elaborate outline, but thanks to this challenge, I have managed to thread my way through some interesting scenes that I may not have written without the NaNo dashboard to act as my beacon light.
At this half-way moment, I’m starting to push past that wall of, “I can’t do this,” and want to share a light bulb moment for those out there who are still struggling to get a grasp on their story.
Write a synopsis.
I hear your gasps of horror. A few might have spewed out their coffee or tea. I appreciate that I’m recommending surviving one form of torture by using another, but this is why it’s worth giving a synopsis a try:
- Use it as a way to tell yourself the story. Once upon a time there was… and go from there. In those couple of pages, you can relate what happens to your characters at a very high level, and while you’re tapping it out, you’ll see where their motivations are weak and what you might want to give some more thought to.
- Allows you to see the forest and not the trees. The biggest challenge we have in writing a synopsis is boiling down a full length novel into several concise paragraphs. But if you don’t have the full length novel yet, then writing a synopsis is really a piece of cake.
- A funny thing happened to me on the way to the synopsis…the muse showed up. Without the pressure to write a scene or to make it perfect, the muse has full range to explore plot points that you may not have even considered. I found ideas just pouring out thanks to this exercise. By the end of it, I thought, hey, I want to read that. More importantly, I want to write that.
- Allows you to drag your characters through the mud and push them off a cliff before you’re emotionally invested in them. We all love our characters, and if you spend months, years (cough…several years) working with them, they become your children. This connection makes it that much harder to subject your darlings to the cruel tribulations which is the necessary component for a compelling page turner. But by writing a synopsis early, you haven’t invested that much time in them, and you can be as merciless as the story demands. Apologize to them later.
- No one has to actually see it, so the pressure is off, and if there’s no pressure, it will flow much easier than when you are facing an implacable deadline. Consider it practice.
- You will have just written a rough synopsis for when your novel is complete. Doesn’t that feel great?
Let me know what tips you’ve found during NaNo month to further your story or engage your muse.
If you’ve missed my previous NaNoWriMo posts (rants) and want to see just to see how zen I’ve become in two weeks (yes, it is possible–have hope), check out these related posts:
PS: Cross with me to the NaNoWriMo Finish Line