Okay, time for a short series of posts about what I’m getting out of National Novel Writing Month. (For those of you growing allergic to all the wrimo stuff, I promise to intersperse these with other, non-nano writing topics. Cross my heart.)
Before I signed up for NaNoWriMo, I checked out the forums a bit and came across a comment from someone referring to his/her nano novel work as a “zero draft.”
I loved that phrase! It made perfect, immediate sense. A zero draft could count — but it didn’t have to be accounted for. It could be the work I did before the work I do. The notes I made about the notes I would need to make if I were to really write something later. No pressure, no panic, no block. If I wanted, I could even toss the thing out later, and there would be no aftermath, like there is when Draft 1 never leads to Draft 2.
A zero draft is a 100% guilt-free, no-editing-needed wordy playground.
Before I committed to NaNo, I did a little experiment. I needed to see if this whole crazy idea of writing without editing could possibly work for me — a woman who fervently believes that the true art of writing lies in re-writing. My plan was to start writing and keep going. No editing, no fixing, no deleting. I had no time limit and no particular word count in mind — although I was curious if I could get anywhere near the nano daily target of 1,667 words.
On Nov. 1, I started writing about 10 pm. Two hours later, I had 1,300 of the most tangled, nonsensical, confused and typo-ridden words I’ve ever written.
But, wait. Not every word was awful.
In fact, the last few hundred words had really turned into something.
One minute, my female lead is riding a train just sort of people-watching as a young woman tries to catch a young man’s eye … and the next moment she’s realizing that she’d been watching a ghost. The girl on the train was dead, murdered and haunting the Chicago Brown Line train. Wait … what?!
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call a story starter.
Two hours, 1,300 words, one enticing scene.
I signed up for NaNo the next day. My screen name in the forums is ZeroDraftingGenius, lol.
Do you zero draft? Or is there some other method/mind trick that you use to get the work started and/or keep it going?