I’m actually getting pretty close to the beginning of this draft. (I apologize to those of you just starting NaNoWriMo, but I did start a month before you.) Here are a few more things I’ve learned since the check-in at 25,000 words.
No matter how much you plan, you’re as likely to come up with a new twist writing in reverse as you are writing forward. This actually just happened to me, and what I find interesting about it is that it will require the same amount of revision either way. The difference is that instead of the twist occurring to me later in the story and having to go back and plant seeds in the revision, it’s something that occurred to me to change early in the story and I now will have to deal with all the ripples throughout the rest of the story. But having already written what comes later, I can see how this early change will make the middle stronger.
When you make a change early on, it’s so much more tempting to fix everything that comes after in the draft. Usually when I’m drafting I just want to get to the end. Occasionally when I make a change I’ll be tempted to go back and fix something it affects earlier in the story, but it’s usually just a twinge. I’ve had a different mentality drafting in reverse. I’ve been going through and adding to the later scenes–still not revising the existing text–if something in an earlier scene calls for it. This twist I just added in the first plot point has me itching to go through the whole manuscript and revise–because everything that comes after is already there waiting. But if I do that I’ll never finish the draft, so I’m putting it in writing here so I will keep moving forward to the beginning.
I’m probably not going to be able to let this draft sit. Because of the above point, I have a feeling this first draft will turn into a draft 1.5 before I’m able to let it sit. But if the reason for that is an inconsistency I already know I wrote in that I can fix before I set it aside for a month, I can live with messing up my usual system. Then when I return to it after that month, it will be a stronger draft to attack.
I think that’s it for today. Probably my next post in this series will be Writing in Reverse: The Beginning!