NaNoWriMo Day 3

6846 / 50000 words. 14% done!

I got two batches of ~1700 words done today!

I’m in the middle of wanting to devour wisdom nuggets about storytelling and writing because I feel like I can use as many of them as I can get… and yet, while I was browsing blog posts for NaNoWriMo or even just about those two topics, I felt unsatisfied. And that is, of course, because you only get what you pay for—and free five-paragraph blog posts are about as informatively nutritious as cardboard. And, of course, this type of post is what gets pushed hardest around NaNoWriMo time.

So I’m going to write about the Writewell Academy lectures, because they’re the ones that have been most pragmatically useful to me these past few days. I wish there were more of them, but content comes to those who wait. Nevertheless, here’s what I think of each course thus far, beyond the free 101 (which is just there to see if you like the format):

102: Introduction to Discovery
This one I’m kind of iffy on, although it offers some interesting ideas to start manipulating the story outside of your head (in the form of collages and discovery writing). And getting the story out of your head and into something concrete and real is what writing is all about (and why it’s so painful). Rich makes the important point that some of the writing you produce, NaNoWriMo-fueled or not, will be discovery writing—what you needed to write to discover more about the characters, plot, themes, etc, but which your audience does not need to read.
103: Introduction to Conflict
This is where the meat of the lectures begins. Crusie cuts straight to the bone vis a vis what conflict is, why it’s important, why it often needs to be driven between characters, what an antagonist is, why characters come into conflict, and also discusses how to get the maximum benefit out of conflict through what she calls a “conflict lock”—basically, a way to analyze whether your protagonist and antagonist are actually affecting each other. There’s a lot of information here, and I quite like it. I actually felt like I got my money’s worth.
201: Basics of Character
I also felt like I got my money’s worth here, because Rich covers territory that not even Card talked about in Characters & Viewpoint. We often hear about a character’s strengths and weaknesses defining them, but she goes one further with vulnerabilities, which is where I found my heartstrings and sympathy got tugged. When I think about the characters I loved in fiction, they all had vulnerabilities that I sympathized with. Character vulnerabilities also play back into Crusie’s lecture 103: Introduction to Conflict.

If I only had $10, I would spend it on 103.

And now I’m off to rewatch the lectures and take notes.