I am deep in the throes of NaNoWriMo. It’s been a number of months since I had the time and the discipline to write every day, and I am wallowing in putting words on paper. You know the feeling of sitting down in a hot bath, or snuggling into a puffy white bed at the end of the day? That’s how it feels to be writing. Like looking over the most glorious vista you can imagine, drinking it in and knowing you’re part of it at the same time.

The draft I’m working on is pretty linear. I know I want to get the protagonist from known point A to known point K, and I know approximately how long that’s going to take in the timeline of the story. I also know where all the intermediate points are going to be, pretty much. That’s a lot of the bare bones of plottaken care of, which is unusual for me. My plot normally follows what’s happening emotionally with my characters, I fear I manipulate them terribly most of the time.

Not so, now. Now this draft is all about writing out the emotional journey that mirrors the physical one this character is taking. It’s a surprisingly nice way to work, I have to say. I know, Columbus discovers America. But each project is different. Most of the time, plotting beforehand is anathema to me because I will lose interest if I know what’s coming too far in advance. But for something like NaNoWriMo, where word count reigns supreme, structure is valuable. That remains one of the reasons I picked this novel to draft in the first place.

What is surprising me is how well I’m adapting my writing process to the organic structure of the story. It’s not boring me, it’s actually sparking realizations and epiphanies about what needs to happen next. The only downside to all of this is that sometimes things don’t fit because of the demands or the plot. And when they don’t fit, all I can do because of the word count demands is put CX LATER in brackets after the problem sentence and keep going. I don’t know what will have to bend in the end, the plot or the story, but I can’t worry about it now.

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