Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG: BuNo and NaNo Mistakes

Happy Almost-Independence Day, everyone! I hope you have a fun but safe weekend planned.

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. The first Wednesday of every month we post about our writer's trials and tribulations - and successes, too! Want to join? Go over to the host blog, Alex J. Cavanaugh's, HERE.

Have you ever screwed up a WiP so badly that you just wanted to scrap it and start over? That's where I'm at with A Guilty Ghost Surprised.

Here's where it all went wrong...

I did BuNoWriMo (same as NaNo, only in June) last year. I used an outline (I always need an outline - I'm not the least bit pantser oriented). But apparently, the outline wasn't detailed enough, because I finished the manuscript / items on the outline before I reached 50,000 words (it was more like 40K). So I did the only logical thing I could think of at the time - started writing extra scenes to make word count. Then I did what I thought was the next logical thing - I entered those scenes (5, 6, 7, 8?) into the manuscript where I thought they should go.

No problem, right?

Wrong!

Because now I have wacky things, like:

1)  Indigo explaining a cut on her face before she got the cut.
2)  The name of the ghost dog is used liberally before the name is even revealed.
3)  The mystery is solved in the middle of the book, while the investigation continues afterwards.

And trust me, it's some crappy-ass writing!!! A lot of telling when I should have been showing.  I'm feeling like a total amateur, LOL! It's completely my fault, of course. I wasn't thinking about how out of order it could get or how much rewriting would be involved. Little did I know that rush of satisfaction at the completion of BuNoWriMo was about to bite me in the butt and take a out a big chunk!

So now, I'm going through and writing a synopsis of each chapter (yeah, chapter numbers are not right, either) so I know where things are at and where they should be, and where transitions are needed and where I need to move the investigating chapters forward and the resolution chapters back.

*sigh*

So yeah, I've written and published a book. But I still have a lot to learn. And I will definitely chalk this one up to inexperience and a lesson learned.

Has this ever happened to you? How did you fix it?

28 comments:

  1. Hi Gwen, it happened with me for one of my stories. I had to tack on extra scenes to increase the word count.

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  2. I NEVER have a word count that's too small. I always have the opposite problem -- writing too much and then having to figure out what I can cut. (And if my edit letter for my last book was any indication, I often cut the wrong things!)

    But it seems to me that tacking on extra scenes to increase word count doesn't really benefit the book. If the scenes didn't need to be there in the telling of the story, adding them on doesn't drive the story forward.

    It would be better to add complexity to the story -- another subplot that complements your original plot and adds depth to the story. And then you might need to write a whole new draft from the beginning, weaving the new plotline in all along.

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    1. It was a crappy outline, Dianne, and the mystery was solved way too soon. So I had to string out the clue-finding a bit. But I love your idea about a subplot - that's what I really need to work on.

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  3. I'm a panster so I go back alot only because I can't remember one second from the next. I also keep an index spiral notebook where I jot a quick summary of each chapter. But I still find myself going back. The good thing is no one really sees our silly drafts until they're almost perfect.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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    1. I just don't know how you pansters do it, Shelly. I guess the chapter summary must help a lot, though.

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  4. I've never moved things around or inserted large chunks because I know it would mess me up big time! You are handling it better than I would. I think with that outline you'll put it all back together again.

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  5. Hey, Gwen,

    No matter how loose, I use an outline. It saves a LOT of time and energy. As you said, it's another lesson learned.

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    1. I've learned from that crappy outline I used, Joy. Never again!!!

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  6. This is pretty much how it goes for me. A NaNo novel will always be a mess, no matter how well planned. That's what revisions is for. You'll make it shine, don't worry.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, I'm sure going to try.

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  7. I'm like Dianne and have to worry about too many words. I don't use an outline of each chapter but know the major plot points. I don't think you need to beat yourself up too much. First drafts are drafts, especially if done quickly. Hopefully you'll catch all the mistakes as you revise. I tend to revise more as I go which is why it takes a long time to write the first draft. But hopefully now that I've learned some, I'll need less revisions.

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    1. I guess I'm a woman of few words - strange for a writer, huh? LOL!

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  8. I'm sorry you ran into this trouble but glad you can take it as a lesson learned. I know I will love Guilty Ghost whenever it is ready to be out in the world!

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement, Julie. Comments like this make me want to do a really good job for you!

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  9. I've inserted sentences, paragraphs, and scenes where they ought not be more than I'd care to admit. I am absolutely awful at getting halfway through and then adding to my outline or changing things. Instead of writing on and fixing later I'll try to add everything in that I need and end up with a big, discombobulated mess. Luckily, I've managed to avoid that this time around. For now, at least.

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  10. No worries! You're just a dozen cups of coffee away from publishing another brilliant story:)

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  11. My first (and only) attempt at writing a work of fiction left me feeling like an utter failure. You are such a great writer, I'm sure it is better than you think and you have the skill and talent to get it where you want it to ultimately be. GO GWEN!!

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  12. Keep going Gwen, crappy writing happens to everyone. It's only really terrible when you catch it after it's published.

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  13. I've avoided that particular experience so far, and I'm an outliner as well. :)

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  14. I don't think the point of Nano is to have everything perfect the first go. I've had to rewrite the same scene three times because I keep moving things around and characters are talking about stuff that hasn't happened yet.

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  15. Isn't that how one always writes a book? You get the basics down then you add some extra layers then you go back and fix the timeline goofs caused by the extra layers. Sounds perfectly normal to me.

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  16. You've got yourself a great bit of crazy writing for a first draft. Plenty of writers have mentioned having some doozies for first drafts then going back, ordering and coming away with something amazing. Maybe that's what you got on your heads...something that will be extraordinary :-)

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  17. I'm a total pantser, so this type of things happens to me regularly. I find post-it notes help!

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  18. My attention span is so short, I'm just impressed you wrote anything that fast!!

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  19. Oh have I been there. That birthed what I call my "consistency edit" process. I've found that apps like Scrivener help with that because all the scenes are written separately and can be dragged around into whatever order needed. You'll do fine though. A novel in a month is no easy challenge.

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  20. All my outlines and drafts need to be matched up when revising. "Back in the day" when I started 'Dominance,' I didn't use an outline, had only a vague idea of what was happening. Ended with too many plotlines, slow action or too fast. Such is the life of a writer.

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