Unfucking a Novel Chapter 1: Gems Before Garbage


In a previous post, I illustrated my experience with NanoWriMo. The end result of this affair, for those that didn’t read the past article (it’s okay, I know how the internet is), was an incoherent mess of scattershot splattered prose applied to the digital page with the grace of monkey's throwing crap at a wall.

It stinks, but the end result is that something stuck around.

Despite a rambling and borderline stream of consciousness middle section, I found the beginning rife with potential. The story starts off strong enough, with a main character putting the whole collegiate board on blast before destroying his whole future in one unprovoked phone call. I took that central moment and expanded upon it, exploring their mental state after the event’s fallout, using it as a springboard to contextualize their relationship with the primary point of view character.

I wanted to explore the concept of internal stress coloring one’s interactions with others and how unrelated tension can escalate and drive a plot. Trimming the fat is also important. There were numerous characters that played a bit part within the events, many of which served negligible purpose outside of their defining scene. As a result, the secondary goal was the following:

Cull the Herd

By reducing the amount of characters within the story, I could tighten my focus on the ones that remained. As such, I found who remained could serve multiple purposes within the context of the story. Instead of the librarian warning the main characters about the sinkhole that emerged at the edge of town, I could leverage the sheriff instead. Her no-nonsense xenophobia combined with her desperate authoritarian desire for control makes this introduction far more organic for her. With the main character’s strong anti-authoritarian streak, this adds natural tension to the beginning of the story, fueling far more intrigue than any ancillary one-act librarian could provide.

With the fat trimmed, my goal for this month is to make the loose plot threads far more snug. By reducing the amount of characters at play, I can iron out the narrative ties that bind and develop deeper and more intriguing threads.

Render is slated to come out in 2023. Though NanoWriMo is over, the real work has just begun. Hopefully, this chronicled journey will be found intriguing and helpful to any aspiring authors out there. At the very least, talking about how the fudge is made has got me hungrier to make more chocolate.

Ad Maiorem Gloriam Crocodili,



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