Day 3: Revision before the Wall

I let the beast off the leash today, only a little. On Facebook, the NaNoWriMo crew challenged everyone to post their first sentence, so I did. Here’s mine:

She found out who she was when she was eleven years old.

Now I didn’t really think much of this sentence but feedback I’ve received indicates people think it’s quite good. They are intrigued; who is she? How did she find out? Exactly what did she find out? So I’ve grown to like that opening sentence. Unfortunately, I can’t take that sentence in isolation. I know what comes after, and with what comes after I was not entirely happy. Now NaNoWriMo is not about revising and polishing your work; it’s about output, output, output. Ever forward. But I felt like my opening was a weight around my neck that was dragging me down, and I was not going to be able to fly later in the story without relieving myself of it. So I went and read my story again, and improved my opening, not by rewriting but by adding in extra. So I wasn’t revising, exactly; I was increasing my word count and writing new stuff! The result is that I’m now a lot more pleased with my opening and happier with the introduction of the main character. Afterward, I felt such a lightness of heart and a joy in my being that I danced about the room. Damn it felt good to be a gangsta.

However when I sat down to continue my story, that’s when I hit something of a wall. Not a huge brick wall, but a small one that required some effort to climb over. My novel is set historically (I would say alternate history) so I’ve let myself free from my aching desire to be historically accurate – who needs to be when it’s alternate history, right? However I reached a point where a certain historical figure made a certain historically recorded speech and I absolutely wanted it to be accurate. Unfortunately it was difficult to find an exact transcript anywhere; at best I had partial, including one from a screenplay. However eventually I made it work, and even managed to inject some more pathos from my main character in there. However I left all this quite late today and just feel too tired to write much more. I’ve ahead of the curve word count wise, but a little behind today. Never mind. The small wall has been surmounted. On to tomorrow.