65,740 – Going with the flow

November 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm (Uncategorized)

I wrote a pivotal scene today, so pivotal in fact that it’s changed the whole focus of the book.

It’s one of the great mysteries of Nano that you can write the bulk of a novel thinking you know where the plot is taking you, only for something dramatic and unexpected to turn up and make you realise that, actually, it’s all been about something else all along.

So I estimate that I’ve got about another 20,000 words of plot left to write; all of a sudden I have a beautiful, logical, heart-stopping and almost poetic ending, and I know roughly how I’m going to get there. I’m fairly sure there are going to be some more dramatic twists revealed to me in the next fortnight, hopefully they won’t be too devastating. Already I know I’m going to have to go back and make subtle tweaks to the text now that I have a clearer idea of where all the characters are headed, but that’s certainly do-able.

I’m sure there will be at least one more trough in my way, another moment where I will feel that the whole thing’s useless and should be binned forthwith, but for the time being I’m going to enjoy this feeling of certainty.

I know this is probably a mistake to admit, but I love the moment where the characters reveal themselves. This follows a pattern much like real life: for some of them it happens quite quickly and you know who they are and what they’re about pretty much as soon as they open their mouths. For others, it takes much longer and there comes a point where you realise the person you thought you knew had hidden depths and a strength to them that you wouldn’t believe. So it is with one of my characters. All the way through the book I thought I knew him, and yet I’ve just written a scene and he’s revealed himself to be someone quite extraordinary. It’s changed everything, absolutely everything, and where a few pages ago I still didn’t understand why some things had happened, and what function certain things served, now it all makes sense. And there was me thinking my book was about X, and it turns out that it was about Y all along!

(I know I must sound like a mad woman; this is just the way I write. If I knew what was going to happen, there would be no point in me writing it down.)

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