This is where you are right now. Like Westley, you have been tenacious in your quest. You have not given up on the thought of holding your own complete novel in your hands at the end of the month. You have sailed across eel-infested waters to claim it, and now you find one more hurdle ahead of you. However, you shall not be daunted, and thanks to all the typing you’ve been doing, you definitely have strong arms.
If you are Westley in this scenario, then Week Three is the Cliffs of Insanity. It is bracketed by the two most important word counts with the exception of 50,000: 25,000 and 35,000. That 10K climb is one of the most important in your entire NaNo experience. 25,000 is obviously the halfway mark. There’s something really cool about being able to say you’re halfway to the finish line. This milestone should come for everyone at some point this week.
The second is even more important. Westley couldn’t just grab hold of the rope at the bottom of the cliff and say, “All right, I’m done now. Toss Buttercup down to me and we’ll be on our way.” No! He had to take the rope in hand and start climbing the cliff. When Vizzini cut the rope, he had to cling to the sheer rock face with his bare hands and continue to pull himself up.
Even though 25K is halfway, 35K is the top of the cliff. That’s where you start to feel like you’re on the downward slide toward home. Taking Westley as our inspiration, once he was at the top of the cliff, everything else was pretty easy. He had to fight a duel, but he won handily. Vizzini? Simple! Iocane power will take care of him!! And then he had Buttercup and all that work was worth it.
If your week is comparable to the Cliffs of Insanity, your story’s week is like the Fire Swamp. “Unless I’m wrong, and I’m never wrong, they’re headed dead into the Fire Swamp.”
Your Inner Fred Savage is probably moaning a little at the thought. The Fire Swamp? We’ll never survive!! Smack it down with Westley’s chipper quote: “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”
Week Three is one of the most awesome weeks for your story. This is when things start to happen. The characters you thought were pointless will suddenly step on a flame spurt, fall into the lightning sand, and be attacked by ROUSes. In other words, your story will start to develop… a PLOT! PLOT, you say? I don’t believe they exist. Oh, but you will my friend—you will. Just wait to see what week three brings to you. There’s a lot of craziness, and I’m not saying you’ll want to build a summer home there, but the trees are actually quite lovely.
So prepare yourself gang—Week Three is here.
Next week: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya…