We’re inside the ten-day countdown to NaNoWriMo and I’m working hard on the narrative outline I started last weekend. There’s a strange division in my mind while I’m working on it. It’s as if part of my brain is pounding out the outline’s plot while the other half is visualizing the more compelling, drafted story to come.
How I can do that I can’t begin to say. It’s as if I’m seeing a preview of the enhanced version. It’s difficult to explain, but I do this at each stage of my writing process.
First comes a vague vision of a story in my head. Second comes notes, but even as I’m writing them down the full plot is filling in around the points I’m recording. When I set to work on the narrative outline, which is writing the full plot, I’m simultaneously seeing and hearing the draft. Next month, when I draft, I’ll already be doing some editing in my head based on what I just wrote.
Okay, writing this is almost enough to make me question my sanity.
It’s a bit like how most stimuli that enter my orbit become a potential story if only for an instant. Most flutter through and are rejected so fast I can’t remember them moments later. That’s why I always have multiple stories in my head, but don’t write them down. It’s survival of the fittest for each idea.
Okay, I probably shouldn’t have shared all that, either. Oh well, I’m a writer, people expect me to be odd.
Anyway, getting back to the narrative outline I’m working on now…
As I said, one of the implications of simultaneously experiencing the enhanced version is I’m aware of many of the changes that’ll come later. Again, I store those changes in my head somewhere. To write them down is to write the novel, which is for next month. Believe me, they’ll resurface. It’s also something I don’t want to do until I have the full narrative written. Seeing the whole influences what I’ll draft during NaNo.
So, yes, that enhanced version isn’t always accurate. That’s another reason I don’t rush to record everything that pops into my head (and there’s a lot that pops).
Sorry, I know this is confusing, but it’s also all okay. I know it’ll happen and, really, I’ve only ever given it little thought until I tried to describe it here. What’s important is the outline is still invaluable. I’ve already worked out numerous plot holes I would have otherwise had to wrestle with in November.
A good example of what I’m talking about are Zepha’s rylls who go most everywhere she does. They’re about a foot tall and are excellent tree climbers. They also have beaver-like teeth for trimming out dead limbs, or even felling small trees. In the wild they live in the trees, but not the five who live with Zepha.
Because they’re around her most of the time I know they’ll influence the scenes I’m outlining even though they’re barely mentioned. They’re curious, obnoxious, and protective. Too, all five have different personalities. That’s a lot of unpredictability to know will be in many scenes. Not all scenes, though. The hospital and prison refuse them access, though they accompany her when she goes to the police station for questioning.
Thus, to frame this as I described earlier, even while I’m outlining part of my brain is glimpsing Zepha’s beloved rylls influencing events. They’re all the more beloved because they save her life in the opening scene, the same scene that’s my excerpt on the NaNoWriMo site.