We're coming, we're coming, a strange little band. NaNoWriMo 2010 is fast approaching and like many, I have a vague idea of what I want to write about and a few characters I'll probably include, but no cohesive plot to speak of. That's never really stopped me before.
But I Never Said I Didn't Love You began as my 2004 entry. I'd heard about NaNo in 2002 and 2003 but always within the last week or so of November. I finally put it at the top my browser's bookmarks so I'd be ready for 2004 and registered when the boards opened in October.
Along the way, I'd gotten Writer's Dreamkit, a rather helpful plotting application. It uses the Dramatica engine on a smaller scale to help identify the protagonist, antagonist, goals, and conflicts in a story. I hadn't used it beyond playing with it to see how it worked so I thought NaNo would be a perfect time to use it full scale. It took a good five or six hours to get through all of the questions and outlining and plot points but in the end, I had a working outline that I used when NaNo kicked off on November 1.
Three chapters in, I completely abandoned the outline.
First off, But I Never Said I Didn't Love You was a much more serious effort in its outline form. Not much room for the snarking and jokes. Sure, it happened in chapter 1 but after that, it was going to settle into a more dramatic story. Callum (originally named Jesse) was supposed to be much more clingy and emotionally dependent, Brian a bit more emotionally distant, and Simon, originally Shane (I knew it was a placeholder name for the longest time and renamed him probably about the third or fourth draft), didn't have much more than three lines of dialogue in the final chapter.
After about three chapters, I knew I couldn't follow the outline any longer. I just liked the interplay between Brian and Callum so much, I couldn't have them not speaking to each other at the end of the book. Simon's role was expanded to help provide better conflict, as well. And extra funny was added. Lots of extra funny.
And, as they say in Poughkeepsie, viola.
I still have the original outline in my files. Maybe some day, I'll use it.