NaNoWriMo Writing Update Week One: Be A Sadist

For those of you participating, those who have participated in years past, and those who are just generally interested in the NaNoWriMo process of writing a novel in one month, happy first week!

With one week down, I’m happy to report I’m well ahead of pace at just under 17,000 words so far. I have learned from this first week that when I make my writing a priority, I get so much on the page.

That being said, I’ve also been working on some of the easiest and most fun portions to write. The back story and set up. The first time characters meet. The witty banter that borders on flirtatious, leading the reader to wonder, “wait, are these two totally gonna fall in love?” The set up of the world that paints a picture of who these characters are, what they want, their hopes and dreams.

The more difficult elements are still ahead of me. Driving the story. The conflict. The hard conversations. The climax. The resolution. All of which are immensely difficult to push through. Most timely, I hate having bad things happen to my characters.

I will write dialogue for days, delaying and dancing around the fact that I don’t want to make the Bad Thing happen. I don’t want to hurt them, even knowing they will come out of it stronger (I mean, fingers crossed, I don’t have a set outline and often let my characters lead me).

Then I stumbled upon this excellent Vonnegut quote yesterday that is giving me all the guts I need to do what I am planning on doing to my sweet main character:

“Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” – Kurt Vonnegut, How to Write a Great Story

Just as in life, we are never so truly ourselves, so fully acting out of our deepest well of potential, truth, and guts, than when we are faced with a challenge. So I am going to access my inner sadist to hit the 50,000 word goal and give my girl a hell of a lot of strength along the way. Myself, too.

Write on!



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