Now that I’ve broken out of my metaphor, I’m discovering that Out of the Shadows allows me to let the story wander without completely derailing the main storyarc. The main character is a nocturnal vigilante and there are plenty of opportunities to tell mini-stories that have little or no impact on the main plot, but still allow me to explore his character.
Twice now I’ve begun writing a scene with a general idea of where I wanted it to go, only to have an unexpected element come into play and take things off in a new direction. Last night, the protagonist sprang into action when a woman was being assaulted. He dispatched the assailant easily, only to find himself on the business end of a pistol being wielded by a second assailant who had not been there when I started writing the scene.
I’ve been jumping back and forth between these miniature adventures (call them side quests, if you like) and the main story for two days now, and 6,500 words later I’m feeling very good about the story so far. I’ll update my official NaNoWriMo word count when my new story surpasses the one I began on 01 November.