Most importantly, of course, I'm still having fun. Though I'm far enough along that I'm plagued with the never-ending novelist questions: Is this any good? Did I dig deep enough? What if my character is too weird? What if this only makes sense in my head? And on and on and on. I try to fix what I can, but otherwise just keep writing. It's all I can do.
However, my biggest fear was that writing a scene-by-scene outline in advance would ruin everything. Tons of novelists swear against outlines; they find joy in the writing, in discovering their story as they go. But strangely, at least so far, that hasn't been a problem.
As I get to know my characters better, they're doing unexpected, even surprising things. So while part of me knows what's coming, another part of me is enjoying the ride, looking ahead to the big loop-de-loop and wondering what that's going to feel like, and what new twist my car might take. Very exciting.
I've also discovered an unexpected benefit to advance-plotting. Obviously there's the benefit of having a sentence jotted down for each scene, so I'm avoiding the dreaded blank page. But that structure also gives me the freedom to skip pointless paragraphs where I try to move my character from point A to point B.
For example, say a scene starts over breakfast, with a young girl arguing with her mom. She slams the door as she heads off to school. The next scene happens that evening, when the girl and her mom confront each other again over dinner.
If I were writing this story as I created it, I'd tell you about school that day, how crummy and boring it was, how noisy, how many kids there were in the halls, pushing and shoving... but you don't care. You want to know what's going to happen with the girl and her mom.
Having an outline in front of me gives me permission to jump to the next scene. It saves me lots of pointless paragraphs that will just be cut later anyway.
Pretty neat, huh? Course, next week I might be bemoaning the evil outline. We'll see.
How are your Nano or Nano Lite or Faux Nano goals coming along?