Thursday, December 11, 2014

Building and Feeling; What is Lacking Post NaNo?

So it is two weeks post NaNoWriMo and I am still reeling from the whole thing. I had my students participate and am floored at how many met and exceeded their writing goals. A couple hit 50K without breaking a sweat. My hat is off to them!

We're now entering the editing phase and one of the things I'm finding is that in the daze and craze of writing as much as you can...some things fall through the cracks.  Its evident in my students' work and also in my own.

The two biggest deficits are world building and character development...

So the kids and I all wrote either fantasy or science fiction so world building is paramount with this type of genre just to get the reader up to speed with the environment. What I'm finding is that a lot of the descriptions are either piled on too thick in huge chunks to get it out of the way or not added at all. I feel like I'm sort of in a "stock post-apocalyptic" urban scene and that takes away from what I feel are great stories.

I asked them to take out the huge paragraphs and thread them through the scene in dialogue and action beats. That seems to be working for them. I'll keep you posted.

As for character development...well it really is a lack of emotional response to the situation, I'm finding is the problem.  I think so much sweat and blood was spent this past month just getting the scenes out or the plot moving that we all forgot to anchor the character, and by extension the reader, to the moment with emotion.

We are all working on writing the character more present emotionally and to incorporate emotion and internal thoughts like doubt or worry or arrogance into the storytelling mid action sequence.  I hope this helps to cement otherwise frenetic sequences.  I will try this with my own fantasy and let you know how it goes.

What about you? What challenges are you facing now that "just getting it on paper" is crossed off your list? Are you doing massive rewrites...patches...or are you satisfied with your after-NaNo product?

By +Raquel Byrnes