The Great Amnesia Experiment: Part 1

Amnesia Conspiracy, that is, which is the working title for my WIP. I’ve previously blogged here about how I changed my planning methods for the purposes of this MS, and I mentioned in that same post that the actual drafting process would be “more of an experiment than most.” And since I’ve been drafting Amnesia Conspiracy since the beginning of July, I thought I’d pop in and let you all know how the experiment is progressing.

I chose to start Amnesia Conspiracy’s fourth draft during the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo, which has served me pretty well so far. I’m aiming for 30k during the month instead of 50k, because writing 1k a day seemed reasonable after months of focusing on revisions.

However, I have definitely not written every day this month. In fact, I’ve only sat down to write on over half of the available days so far this month, and I’m still almost three days ahead on my word count. My writing sessions, when I have them, have been far more productive than they have in months past, because I’m not forcing myself to sit down and write during every second of spare time I have. I’ve figured out that my productivity is at its highest when I have at least an hour stretching in front of me to really sink into the story, and and at its lowest if I’m tired or rushed. If I’m doping off at my keyboard, I don’t try to stay up and work. Instead, I shut my computer down and go to bed.

It’s such a simple change, but it has really made a huge different in both my word count–and my enjoyment of the process itself. When I’m rested and focused, the words flow much more easily, I have a much better time, and I’m more likely to dive into the story the next day. Holding myself accountable is still sometimes an issue, but not nearly as much as it has been in the past. Freedom has been a huge help for me, because it allows me to lock myself out of my internet as soon as I start getting squirrel-y. You can learn more about Freedom here.

Because I handled most of the preparation for Amnesia Conspiracy back in March, my biggest concern was whether the outline I’d put together would still make sense after I’d gone over it. For the most part, the answer is yes. I patched a minor plot hole in one of the earliest chapters without impacting too much of the later story, and that made me feel pretty damn good about the outline I’d put together.

Then, one of my characters threw me a curve ball by mentioning something in scene that I hadn’t even considered. It wasn’t a super big issue in the grand scheme of things, but it did force me to reconsider the back half of my WIP and confront one of my personal problems as a writer. When I plot a MS, I almost always over-complicate things in the initial rush of ideas. Instead of getting my characters from beginning to end in the most straight-forward way possible, I tend to lead them off on these little side tangents, or force “complications” that don’t really impact the story as a whole.

Usually, I don’t figure this out until I’ve finished at least one draft, and wasted thousands of words in the process. This time though, I was able to take that curve ball and use it to cut a few of those tangents and streamline the story–without having to rewrite the entire thing or throw tons of words away.

I don’t expect to finish my whole MS during this camp session, but I’m feeling really good about the progress I’ve made so far. Then again, I’ve still got the majority of my MS to go.

 

Do you have any tips or tricks to keep you working, or any productivity aids you’d recommend? Let me know!

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