I'm in the midst of my third NaNoWriMo novel, the final in a trilogy. For the last two years, I've written at least 50,000 words in November. This third year's participation makes it feel like a tradition. If for some reason I didn't participate next year, I'd really feel like I was missing something vital, akin to a holiday or an annual reunion.
What's surprising me so much this go-around is that I know the characters so well that they are telling me their story quite clearly. The writing flows so fluidly in some places that I can type 1,000 words quickly, non-stop. I am beginning to see how some writer's might
form a "novel habit" — regular novel writing results in a constant,
prolific ease of wordiness. (Think Ray Bradbury and J.K. Rowling...)
After these wordy bursts, I then stop to look at what's shown up on the page. I certainly didn't have any of that in mind ahead of time, I think to myself. Perhaps a kernel of a starting point, but not the surprise that I see before me.
Could all of these plot twists and turns be in me, waiting for me to write them out? If they are, how long have they been within my mind and heart? Was I born with them? Did I form them during my intensely imaginative childhood years? Or did they just arrive at the moment I typed, like some lively, anecdote-filled guests who have shown up suddenly and happily?
This third noveling attempt is confirming the following for me: to know a character and a story, one has to write it out. Wherever it lives, either in the heart or brain or floating around in the air we breathe, it doesn't fully materialize until pen is on paper, moving and scribbling, or fingers are on keyboard, typing. The story has to come through somehow; it is not a complete story if we are just considering it within our own thoughts. It has to be let out of our holding tanks. It has to be actioned into existence.