I have been writing like a crazy person for the last two weeks. Well, I am a crazy person, but–I have been spewing the basic rough draft of a novel in the most unlinear way possible. I have my plot outline and I am following it, sort of. With that as my guide, even when I am jumping around in the manuscript like a mini-van full of toddlers hopped up on jelly-beans and coca-cola, I am still within the actual framework of the story that was originally outlined.
But what if, as occasionally happens, you suddenly realize that four chapters previously you shot the villain and buried him when he should actually have been struck by lightning? He was always going to die, that was a given, because he must be the undead villain, hell-bent on revenge.
The good thing about being an author is that once you realize there was a mistake, you can always un-shoot them. Then you can strike them with lightning as they should have been in the first place, send them to Hell and and have some minor devil trying to work his way up the management chain in the underworld resurrect them as your creepy, decaying, undead villain.
And if you are in the middle of NaNoWriMo, every time you rewrite the the scene with a slightly different outcome, it counts toward your word count.
So, here there I was, happily writing along, when suddenly I realized I had to change a rather large plot-hole, and knew I had to do it while I was thinking about it. First I did a global search for the name of the character that has taken the wrong turn. I changed the font color to red in that section, and began rewriting the scene the way it SHOULD have been written in the first place, using the usual black font.
Now, during normal writing sessions, I would simply cut the offending scene out of the ms, and paste it into a separate document which I then save to my ‘Background File’ in the same folder as my main manuscript. By doing that, I don’t lose information I may need later.
But this is National Novel Writing Month, and every word in that manuscript counts toward my region’s total wordcount! We are the Olympia Washington USA region and we have a Word War on with Salem Oregon USA: the Capital Smackdown! On November 30, the day of the Great Reckoning, The Virtually Golden Medallion of Mayhem is up for grabs!
We have never won this awesome…thing-a-ma-bob….
But we want it.
And in the per-writer stats Salem is slightly ahead of us in this battle. OH! the misery!
So if that means I have a multicolored manuscript for a few weeks, so be it!
Besides, if I don’t begin to make those changes when first I realize they need to be done, I might forget until a beta reader points it out. Thus, I find myself up at all hours of the night ironing out plots points, trying to keep an unmanageable group of characters in line and trying desperately to keep that all-important word-count up!