Children's writing

NaNo How-To

Writers rave ad nauseam about the writing process and how amazing and powerful it is, how stories and characters take on lives of their own. I admit I get sick of hearing about it. But, dang, I am loving what’s happening as I NaNo. The ideas and characters, the discoveries, the occasional insight, it’s all so interesting and exciting! To me. It’s hard not to gush.

I imagine there are as many ways to NaNo (that is, participate in NaNoWriMo) as there are participants. I have a simple and entirely unromantic routine this year that I’m really enjoying and finding productive. I think it came about because I truly entered the event with No Idea. Zilch. Nada. No character. No plot.

I’m up very early, usually 4:30 am, to write. First, I free write about where I think the story is at the moment, what the different plots seem to be, what’s happening with the characters, what I like, what I don’t like, etc.

I seem to address the plot structure a lot in my free writing. Every time I think about it, which means free writing about it in this case, I seem to get a little little further with it. Something becomes more clear, makes more sense, or seems like a better option. A number of plot lines have come and gone or been left dangling. I’m not sure which ones will be picked up again.

At some point in the free writing, I see the possibility of or the necessity for a scene, maybe to move the plot or develop a character, and so I turn to the actual novel writing. What I have, then, is a collection of scenes that aren’t very well connected yet. Some of which have already been cut and pasted to the bottom, most likely to be cut in the end, but left in for now for word-count purposes.

Today, for instance, I free wrote about possible endings, thinking about where I wanted the MC to end up in all the different possible plot lines. I brought three plot lines together in the ending I contrived. At some point, I decided she needs to do X in order get to this ending, so I wrote a scene in which she does X. I was even able to connect it to a scene I wrote last week. Surprise! Yay!

Every day I’m amazed and impressed that I start with nothing and wind up with something–another rubber band to add to my growing ball. And so I am, like every other raving writer, fascinated by and generally over the moon with The Writing Process.


Categories: Children's writing

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