Forty-eight hours from now, the 30-day writing madness known as National Novel Writing Month begins. My 2012 project, “Dixieland,” has a rudimentary outline and a character list that rivals anything James Michener ever wrote. (Well, just the list part, not the actual writing of a sweeping saga, a la Centennial, Texas or Alaska).
Monday night I expanded by outline to include a theme and subject for 30 chapters. If I can complete a chapter a day, and follow the outline, then I’ll have a mostly-completed novel at month’s end. However, I fully expect that as the characters take on lives of their own and begin talking among themselves, they’ll quite possibly hijack the project and lead it off down a road or roads that I hadn’t expected.
And you know what? I’m okay with that, because if my plotting follows the plodding that I just went through to list 30 days, then that means I’ve already inflicted on “Dixieland” all the creative energy that the book is going to get.
And that would be a very bad thing.
Even now those characters that I’ve created — some only by name, others with cool back-stories — are convening, scheming and preparing to ambush my plan.
(Don’t tell them I said this, but … I can’t wait!)