I woke up this morning, excited that it’s Wednesday. I have logged over 6300 words for my NaNoWriMo novel (which will most likely turn into a very long short story, but that’s okay). I thought a quick post on Wednesday’s word would be a nice little break.
After my laptop warmed up, I clicked on over to Wordsmith.org. Today’s word is nihilarian – one who does useless work.
That’s a terrible stream of words for a writer to read smack dab in the middle of week number one of NaNoWriMo.
Writing every day for 30 days straight isn’t useless. I know that. What is useless is my right and left hand that keep typing the letters b-o-l-t every other paragraph. Bolt here, bolt there. He bolted again. He’ll get whiplash from all that bolting if my fingers don’t stretch a little further and start typing something different, like bound or hightail it or even just walked away.
What isn’t useless is the strikethrough tool, which lets me keep all those repetitive words, plus the choppy scenes they describe. I wish I had used strikethrough on the first day of NaNoWriMo. I wrote a lovely opening scene with an elderly Mrs. Wilson as she got out of bed at midnight. Then, later that day, her rise at midnight seemed unimportant and took the story in the wrong direction. I hesitated to use strikethrough, since that felt like cheating, like I was padding my word count. So, I deleted about 700 words on Mrs. Wilson instead.
I’ve missed her midnight spirit ever since, which brought home one of Chris Baty’s tips for – and benefits of – finishing NaNoWriMo: ignore the delete key. A NaNoWriMo first draft is a smorgasbord of ideas that hopefully, but may not, go together. Don’t delete anything, because 1) you’ll cross that 50,000 word mark before you know it (and won’t that be a feat!), and 2) the scene you save may turn into another story later on.
I’m hoping Mrs. Wilson didn’t take my cut personally, and she shows up in her slippers again at some point.