This is NaNoWriMo – Day 7 and my word count today is 1743. Still on track.
I was ready to write today when I realized how far into the novel I was. I was well past the events to hook the reader. I described the cast of characters and limited description of locations. This bothered me at first until I realized I had my word count anyway. I can build the sets in the rewrite.
I took a brief respite to check where the first plot point would occur in a novel. K.M. Weiland says it at about the 25% point. I was at 12k. Not only was I ready for that confrontation but was at or near the usual point for the first plot point to occur. I used the 1743 words to add the FPP and suggest the coming first pinch point.
All of this discussion about meeting specific events at specific word count is contrary to how I like to write. I admit that preparing an outline gave me an insight into plot and characters. It has caused me some discomfort because I have only very vaguely followed it. The arc I outlined for my heroine is not the arc she is undergoing. I am afraid that my final draft will not be the same novel outlined. It will have the same ending but be a different novel.
Am I discouraged by this? No, my first novel was written without benefit of a formal outline. I envisioned an ending, grabbed some characters from out of the air, and wrote a draft novel. This work started with a defined cast of characters and a defined ending. We are not traveling the outlined route but we are getting there together. When we finish, we will edit and rewrite as necessary.
Outlines are not for everyone as Elizabeth Rose notes in her blog. I recognize her reasons and would enjoy hearing your feelings on the subject of outlines. Comment using the form.