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Fighting The Skeleton Army - Fleshing out NaNoWriMo writing (WriteBlog #23)

This week, I came within 1.5 chapters of finishing the second draft of the novel! But this isn't quite the victory lap blog post yet, I'll get to that next week. This week, after editing 5.5 chapters worth of NaNoWriMo work (I wrote the last seven chapters during NaNo 2013), I finally worked out the real difference between this and better, more carefully written first draft material.

No, it wasn't the terrible spelling and barely comprehensible sentences, those would've happened anyway.

"An interest work, yes, but I can't help but feel it may have been written by a burning cat."

As documented in past WriteBlogs (and even a video that one time), I was concerned that the stuff I wrote in NaNoWriMo would be wretched godawful swill, a confusion of mess that looked like a cat had leapt onto my keyboard, then been set on fire.

But I worked myself into such a mess of pessimism that it was never going to be as bad as I expected. Yes, I stumbled upon a few bits which just didn't make sense - after a few re-readings, I was forced to jettison entire sentences because no amount of re-reading could let me in on what my past self had been thinking.

Still, that was rare. Mostly, the plot was there, even if it still needed tweaking, and there were moments of great dialogue where I found myself thinking: "You know what, Past Nick, even though you were clearly hammered when you wrote that other bit, this is masterful."

The one recurring problem I have found: most of it it just a bit thin. Not very fleshed out.

Zombies can't eat the flesh if it wasn't there in the first place

This could be a common enough issue with everyone's first draft, but even compared to my other early work, this lacked in shading. Quite a lot of scenes boiling down to "Man and woman were in the room, it was green, one said blah, another said blah blah," and so on unto infinity.

Not that the dialogue was bad, in fact some of it was very good, but compared to other, better bits of first draft, it did read a little like I was hurrying to the finish. So, in short, my experience of editing NaNoWriMo writing: putting some meat onto the blasted white bones of description-free scenes.

This grew a repetitive when blasting through scene after scene doing the same thing every time, but it could be worse. At least I didn't have to delete and rewrite everything. And hopefully next week, we move on to the next big step: finishing the second draft.

So that'll be exciting.


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