Just keep writing…just keep writing…writing, writing, just keep writing…

The day has come. I’ve been expecting it to come for quite some time now, but I always thought that I wouldn’t reach this point until some time next year.

I’ve reached a point in Willow where I haven’t the faintest clue what will happen next.

I haven’t outlined Willow trilogy down to the very end of book three. I’ve told the story to myself so many times, I have a general synopsis of what happens in each book. I also do have software that I use to plot out several chapters in advance. But at this stage of the book, I’ve run up against a blank wall. Basically, my characters are done with Town A, so now they have to go through [INSERT SCENE HERE] in order to get to Town C.

Normally, in cases like this, I would freewrite, journaling about the scene, asking myself questions and tossing around different ideas. Should they go to Such-and-Such? What if they ran into So-and-so? And I did do a little of that. But nothing definite really stuck out to me. What to do?

Well, when I put my son down for his afternoon nap, I decided that, well, I would just write and see what happens.

This is the spirit of NaNoWriMo in its essence, why it is so alluring for writers. Basically, NaNoWriMo really is nothing more than a massive freewrite, where you put down as many words as you can without worrying too much about content. Even if you crank out crap, at least you’re cranking out something. Up to now, I’ve been having my characters go the way I wanted them to go. Now, I shut off the controlling part of my mind and let my fingers go, watching how the characters react to the situation I’ve put them in.

Joshua, his family, and their Sworn Guard, Coren, reach a town called Inverness. Joshua’s father finds a place where they can settle down and rest. His intention is to meet with someone who works at a nearby Temple. However, at the inn, they learn that this person is out of town. Wiped out, they all stumble to their rooms. Joshua has a room by himself, and he comes in and closes the door.

Of course, this is all a synopsis of the actual chapter. At this point, I had toyed with bringing Joshua and his family down where they talk at dinner on what to do next. I also had toyed with Joshua sneaking out on his own, but seeing that he did that in a previous chapter, I didn’t think he would do it again so soon. So I decided to let Joshua nap a bit and then go down for dinner.

Joshua flops on the bed, tired beyond belief. He has the strangest feeling, though, that he’s being watched. Then he remembers. It’s that bond between him and the Sworn, the bond that ties him to her, and lets her know where he is at all times, even when she’s not around. For him, however, the feeling transcribes to always feeling her eyes on his back, and disconcerted, he sits up and looks beneath his bed, expecting to see her lying on the floor, staring up through the mattress at him.

I didn’t expect to write that, but it made sense at the time. In the last chapter, Joshua had tried to slip away from Coren to see just how far the bond went. I tried to get him to sleep again, but…

Joshua then realizes that, despite the bond to the Sworn, he’s all by himself. He hasn’t been by himself since the fiasco in his village, when he learned that he was a Voice…

At this point, I realized that Joshua was not going to sleep at all. For the first time, he has a chance to sit and ponder what’s happened to him and his family. It makes sense, actually. Joshua needs some downtime to figure out just what the heck’s happening to him. He’s been on the go for the past few chapters–seeing his village destroyed by marauders, the girl who tried to assassinate his father now suddenly their Sworn bodyguard, being chased by thugs, finding another village destroyed by an evil creature, and to top it all off, suddenly hearing the trees speak and learning that he may be the one to destroy the entire world–as I wrote the scene out, I wondered if I should curl Joshua into a fetal position as he thinks on all this.

But you see…that’s gold. It even gave me a little insight on him as a character. I’m letting a myriad of previous factors, Joshua’s personality, and common sense dictate what happens next. When I wrote this chapter, I always had in the back of my mind, “How will Joshua respond to this? What will he say? What will he think? Is it out of character for him to do this? Does it actually have him learn something? Will it change him into something new?” And lo and behold, I suddenly, not only do I have a character exposition that shows Joshua as a person who thinks as well as acts, but I also have a way to give some downtime to the reader, to break from all that action and let them catch their breath along with the characters. That’s pretty cool.

I wonder what tomorrow’s scene will be like?