Monday Blues

It’s a non writing group Monday…though I didn’t have one last week, either, due to my in law’s 40th anniversary party, and the mod was sick (or so the text message I got said…Facebook implied otherwise.  :D)

I’m not quite ready to start my serial spoof just–I thought I was, but then I realized I might actually want to stockpile a few posts before I went live with it, as life with the husband home 7 days a week is…different, and not as conducive to writing.  I like to do a lot of my writing in the early evenings, and with him home, that means I spend my early evenings cooking and cuddling on the couch instead.  I just need to see if I can reset my internal writing clock to early afternoon, instead.

I’ve been thinking about how fun the “seat of your pants” style writing is, but how bad it is for actual novel content.  I remember for my first NaNo novel, I wanted to write a mystery novel.  My mom used to give me the books she had read, and she read a lot of mystery novels.  So, I figured I’d try my hand at one of those.

I crafted a story about Jolene Manning, who was a secretary at a small printing firm.  She comes in early to work one morning to find her boss murdered, sitting in her office chair.  I had no idea who the murderer was, so planting red herrings was…easy, I guess, as I’d write their part of the novel as if they were the actual killer.  Then, I’d realize that no, this is NOT the killer…and I’d fix it so they couldn’t be the murderer and move on to the next person.

Tell you what, when I finally discovered who the murderer was, I was as surprised as Jolene was.

However, I’m sure if I went back and reread that novel today, it would be full of plot holes so big you could drive an 18 wheeler through them.  Oops.

The next year I was a bit more prepared.  I was writing about Jolene again, but I put her in a setting I was more familiar with, picked an unusual murder weapon, and actually knew who the killer would be this time.  In case you’re wondering (and I can say this because this novel is trapped on a dead harddrive in my basement, never to see the light of day again), it was the dirty controller with the pepper grinder on the back dock of the country club where she worked.  At the time, I worked at a country club, and we used to have these…ENORMOUS pepper grinders, and I figured the 2 feet of heavy carved wood would make an excellent murder weapon…not that I ever contemplated bludgeoning someone to death with one…no, never, not at all.

Seriously, a pepper grinder would make an excellent murder weapon.

While I seat of my pantsed a great deal of that novel, I still had a plan, which made crossing the 50k finish line with almost a week to spare plus a couple thousand extra words a lot easier than the previous year, when I’m pretty sure I finished at 11:30 on November 30th.  I always seem to forget a plan is a good thing and just barrel full tilt into the novel with very little preparation.  Those are the years I just barely squeak out 50k words right before the deadline.  In comparison, Wolf Girl ended at around 57,000 words with a couple of days to spare.  I actually had an outline for Wolf girl!  This year, I’m determined to learn that lesson and actually be prepared for NaNo with some sort of outline.  Yes, yes, even if I have to tatoo “have an outline” backwards across my forehead so I read it in the mirror every time I brush my teeth!

What’s your style?  Seat of the pants?  Outline to the nth degree?  Some combination of both?  And do you stick to your outline?

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