Truth And Dare And The Parallel Draft

laid to rest east detail
Laid to Rest 80,000 Obstructing Spirits, East (detail)

I have a new name for my November Nanowrimo challenge.  I call it truth and dare.

It is not truth or dare.  That is the game I played with my friends at school and on weekends.  Seeing just how many secrets we could get out of each other when we were brave enough to choose truth, and how silly we could make each other look when we chose dare.

I recall that childhood game vividly.

There was freedom and fear and permission in letting go of a truth that was scalding my hands as I held it close and hidden.  And there was the same feeling in completing a dare that held potential for danger, embarrassment, and crossing an invisible line of rules I lived by.

The truth and dare of Nanowrimo gives me this same permission to let go.

Let go of all rules and limits I have placed on my creativity.

Let go of all rules and limits I have placed on the routine of my daily life.

Let my imagination and my words wander where they will, digging up old secrets and discovering new and embarrassing thoughts.

Let creativity happily disrupt my days.

I am writing something I have come to call my parallel draft.  I already have a second draft of my book.  That’s what I was working on prior to November one.  And I would be working on it now, except that the siren call of Nanowrimo got into my ears and my imagination and my heart and refused to leave.

The first day of November I find myself resurrecting my Nanowrimo account and signing up.

Yes, the gloriousness of being foolish, taking on truth and dare for a whole month.

The gloriousness and wisdom of writing a parallel draft of my book.  I did not know it was wisdom at first.  I thoroughly suspected that foolishness was primary in this decision.  Also, a need to run away from editing my second draft which had me feeling shaky and unsure.

It turns out the parallel draft holds everything that does not fit in my book.  I am following all the related threads of story that are not the thread of the second draft.

My Nanowrimo truth and dare draft is the story around the story.  By writing beyond the edges of my second draft, I dig deeper.  I see the story from other points of view, from other characters and environments and situations.

What is showing up here is the backstory and side story and future story.  All are informing the second draft.  Enriching it.  Placing it in a larger context.

When I go back to the second draft on December first, I know what lies beyond the frame of the story being written.

Except for the truth and dare of Nanowrimo, I would not have committed to a month of writing what lies beyond the primary story of the second draft.  I should say, I would not have wasted a month.  That was my attitude before the parallel story that showed up in the past fifteen days.

I have to remember this process of a parallel draft.  Something useful to add to my writer’s tool kit, when I need to see the story beyond the story.  When I need a wider vision.

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