NaNoWriMo: November 4 – Your past present future

Cranked out another thousand today. This is the style in which I am writing

yuka and i part outside shibuya station, her to catch the yamanote to kawasaki, me to catch the tokyu-toyoko to musashi-kosugi. as soon as we part i look around me at the millions of faces rushing by and feel sober again, for an instant, then – one foot in front of the other – get myself up the stairs, through the ticket gates for the tokyu-toyoko, along the platform until i find a car with space, and step carefully inside. there are no seats so i hold a handle and stare at the patterned yellow bricks on the platform until they start to make me feel sick, then i just look at the floor of the train car. i replay flashes of the evening’s karaoke in my mind and try not to smile in case someone is looking.

though it’s more drafting than writing, I suppose. My big uncertainty of the day is whether to continue in the present tense, which gives it that immediate, real-time feel, or to switch to past tense because it’s more familiar to readers. For now I’m sticking with present tense because it feels right, and I can go back and change it all later if I want to. Are there any drastic reasons NOT to write in present tense?

There was no electricity at home for most of the morning so again I had to rely on the net cafe below my work to write. On the way there I did something new: made a basic plan of what situations I was going to write for Mari today. Having had no specific goals in mind for the previous two days, this objective made me much more focused and disciplined in my writing today – where those previous two days yielded barely two hours of Mari’s life, today’s half hour session took her through a night, a day and a morning. I still have like five years of novel time to write her through, but it’s all practice, right?

Anyway, the point is that even the most basic plan or outline definitely helps. Goodness, perhaps should start applying this to other aspects of my life as well?


2 responses to “NaNoWriMo: November 4 – Your past present future

  1. godsdottir

    I do know what I’m doing! I’m writing as much as possible as fast as I can and hoping that it sorta makes sense xD

    Write or Die works really well for me, because it gives me the motivation to ignore my ‘wanna give up’ feelings and just write as fast as possible. I love competing, even just competing against a timer.

    Hehe, well, my novel is a year old now. I hadn’t touched it since January, but it’s been in my mind, stewing. And the planning is useful as all heck, so do more of it :P Especially keeping track names/places/events that you’ve written so far.

    Is that picture JKR’s planning sheet? It looks really confusing xD

    I reckon you should go for the present tense. I didn’t even notice it was present tense until you mentioned it xD But even without me noticing it I could easily see her standing on the train staring out the window.

    Now it’s time to go write me another 1495 words so I can beat my writing buddy.

    • Hey godsdottir, I see you have now written almost twice as much as I have – and we’re both behind the target thus far. Let’s go for it! C’moN!

      Yeah, I could really do with more planning. I’m kind of just writing blindly right now, having never considered most of the scenes before, and I’m getting some interesting results – not a novel, but strands from which a novel might be fashioned. Hopefully.

      That is Rowling’s planning sheet, for Order of the Phoenix I think – have now made it clickable to enlarge, check it out. (I haven’t actually read any of her books but found that sheet interesting.)

      And thanks for the present tense feedback, that’s exactly what I wanted I guess. I’ll charge on with it. Cheers!

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