Inside Look at a NaNo Journey: Part Three
Hello! And welcome back to another pitstop on my NaNoWriMo road trip. We’re good friends now, right? That means I can let you in on a little secret, right? Okay, good. I make a loooooot of pitstops on this road trip. Fun fact: on Monday I wrote a grand total of eighteen words. IT’S FINE.
Week Three Update
This week I was not sick! For those of you paying attention, yes that means I have survived my bout of COVID-19. Thankfully, I had a really mild case and even though I still have some lingering symptoms, they are no longer impeding my writing.
Then what is impeding my writing, you may wonder. Great question. It’s myself.
Now, everything has been fine this week. I really don’t have any complaints (except maybe on Monday when I did have some leftover icky feelings). But just like I talked about last week with the murky middle, I’m still just kind of feeling a little blah when it comes to my story. On the bright side, I’m getting really close to a dark, gory, spooky bit and I’m pretty excited. It’s those story cookies, right? (Don’t know what I’m talking about? These cookies are a Sooz specialty. You can learn more here, but I really suggest not starting in the middle of this series; it’s a good one. Also, if you don’t know what the magical cookies are, you’re obviously not subscribed to her newsletter. Get on that.)
ANYWAY. I’m just being dramatic. I’m actually having a pretty decent week. I hit 35k on Thursday and I’m going to try my hardest to hit 40k by tonight (Saturday). We’ll see how it goes! I’m for sure having a spriting session on Sunday, so my word count will hopefully go up, up, and away then. Wish me luck!
And we’re still just ignoring the whole fundraising thing until after I hit 50k. So there.
The End is Nigh
We have a week and some change left of NaNo this year, so I want to take a moment to talk about endings. Now, of course, even with 50k, there’s still a pretty good chance that you won’t be finished with your draft. Whether you’re writing chronologically and are nowhere near your final scene yet, or if you’ve jumped around and already have the big finale all sorted, we can all benefit from a little endings magic.
There are multiple ways to write endings, but today I’m going to focus on my favorite way to end a draft: the circular ending. Regardless of how your story actually ends (happily, tragically, on an insane cliffhanger), a circular ending can still pack a punch. And make you seem super clever.
A circular ending is one that in some way or another reflects the beginning of your story. To use a really terrible example from a made up Hallmark movie (tis the season, amirite?), say your main character is all bah humbug in a Christmas store in your story’s opening. A very obviously circular ending could have them in the Christmas store again, but having recognized the joy and beauty of the holiday. Get it? Good.
Maybe you want your ending to be that obvious. For stories that aren’t cliffhangers, it can actually be a great way to reflect on all the growth your main character has undergone. I use this type of ending in one of my own stories. The book starts with my MC in a bookstore and it ends with her in a library. Both instances showcase who she is at that point in the story.
But maybe your story has so many twists and turns that it’s impossible for them to end up in a similar place. That’s okay, too! A circular ending doesn’t have to be as obvious as a character in the same Christmas store at the beginning and end of the story. It can be much more subtle. Your final image is often a snapshot of your character’s “after.” Point out how much they’ve changed and what their new life is like contrasted against their “before.”
No matter how your story ends (sorry this isn’t an actually helpful post on how to pick an ending), think about your hero’s journey and how far they’ve come.
The NaNo Circle
Anyway, all this to say that we are on our own hero’s journey this month. What will you have learned, how will you have changed when all is said and done?
Will we have started encouraged and finished in a puddle of tears? Maybe the opposite? There’s definitely tears in there somewhere. It doesn’t matter how brutal the journey is, we’re still in this for the long haul.
Join us on social media or Discord to tell us where you are on your hero’s journey. Are there tears yet? What other metaphors can you come up with? So far we’ve got a roadtrip with pitstops and a hero’s journey. I’m also feeling that Sisyphus may be a good one…
See you next time. Maybe I’ll have won by then. Who knows.