World comes first

The third day of NaNoWriMo 2020.

I had a feeling that I will learn a lot this month. Learning while doing is much more fun. I’ve been “learning” to write a novel for years. ‘Learning’ in quotes because it was mostly book reading.

Somehow I found an excuse of lack of time to actually write it. It was only partly true. In reality I had plenty of time to write a novel. I didn’t even practice. And yet I’m a writer. I am one and it is awesome.

Currently I’m refreshing my knowledge about novel writing while writing it. It makes so much sense to learn while doing. I knew it in the back of my mind. I’ve done it before and yet it never fully clicked.

I would lie if I would say that it has clicked fully now. It has not, but it is on the verge of clicking. Some time ago I caught myself in a loop/trap book reading. Told myself to read only that which I can instantly try and use. Otherwise there is no use of spending my time on empty reading.

Of course there are things that do stuck in the mind without doing too. It’s still not enough.

To learn, you must do. If you can’t do what you theoretically know, then you know nothing.

So, what have I learned in three days?

For me to write a novel or any story really, I need the world first. In my head or on paper it doesn’t matter. I need a living world. Even for a scene I need to see it first. The more detail the better.

If I have a world in my head I could technically free-write it. I tried to build the world while writing. It doesn’t work yet. I bet it is the next level or something.

There is a need to spend some time in this world. To see the possibilities. It’s actually like a movie or theater set. Outside can even be empty at that moment.

Without the world, characters have nothing to interact with. With the world they become alive.

On the first day I wrote without a clear vision of the world. Thus it was an amalgam of newest influences. Two days later the world has become much bigger. For now it’s just one mega city. It will continue to evolve as story will go forward.

It is interesting. Creation goes both ways. Characters influence the world. The world influences characters. What I have written until now is a completely different story. The real story came to me today. I wrote a short summary. New story flows much better, and makes much more sense. That kind of means that I will rewrite it all. At least there is not a lot.

The lesson for the next time is to prepare the world before. Put some characters in to allow them to explore it. Not all of them will like this world. However there will be a bunch who will feel at home.

Another lesson is not to fight with the gut feelings. If the world or story element doesn’t work, leave it alone. The same with characters. When something doesn’t fit, story won’t reveal itself.

Month has only began. Silly me could’ve done this years ago. Awesomesauce.