Just topped 40k on Tiamat's Nest. That's 10k in a month (don't mock, all you NaNo-ers who've probably done close to that in the few days of November already) which is on target. And for me it's a psychological threshold - half a novel!
Things have slowed down in the last week, though, and I'm hoping I can pick up the pace again. I'm at that point where I've written all the early scenes that I'd mapped out in my mind, and I'm asking myself "So, what happens next?"
OK, I know what happens next, but only in broad terms. It's on a par with saying, "Well, Frodo and Sam sneak into Mordor and destroy the ring. Taa-Daa!"
That's great, but doesn't give me much clue as to how to write the next scene.
In fact, different writers could take such a sparse outline and come up with stories that bore no resemblance to each other, apart from the overall end result. The devil is in the detail - what happens from step to step along the way.
I look at my writing in three layers. There's the high level outline, something that could be a one or two paragraph synopsis. The middle layer is the scene level, things that happen, things that people do - this is where the action is. Then there is the writing itself, which puts the flesh on each scene.
In the above example, Tolkien chose some gripping "what next"s: The battle with Shelob, imprisonment and rescue in Cirith Ungol, disguise as orcs to cross Mordor...
With ideas like this in mind, I find I'm ready to sit down at a laptop and write. The fine detail tends to sort itself out along the way. When I know what is supposed to happen in a scene, I can usually visualize and describe the setting, animate the characters, let the dialogue flow. All this is spontaneous and organic.
But it's that middle layer of plotting that I'm struggling with right now. There's a gap to be bridged between the high level outline and the words on the page. What happens next? I need action!
When I was drafting Ghosts, I spent an hour or two each evening writing, but I also have a sheaf of handwritten notes from where I sat out in the sun at lunchtime and poked relentlessly at the "What happens next?" question. These sessions in between "real writing" helped me to keep the writing fed with ideas.
This incremental outlining, this time with my thoughts away from the keyboard, I've realized is an essential part of my writing process, and one that I find I'm missing this time around. Hence the hiccup.
Does any of this resonate with you? Does all your writing take place at a keyboard, or do you need time in between to let ideas develop?