sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

November 15, 2006

nanowrimo: the first half
posted by soe 2:45 pm

Two weeks have passed since the beginning of NaNoWriMo and I continue to trail behind the word count I’m supposed to have in order to get my novel to 50,000 words by the end of the month. This is particularly problematic since the second half of the month includes two concerts and the Thanksgiving holiday, during which I plan to spend many hours stuck in traffic. Some of this problem has been alleviated by the arrival of the laptop, but I can (and should) only write when not driving, so it’s not wholly fixed.

The first part of the writing experience can be found here.

Day 6: The night of the James Taylor concert. It has been a crappy day at work and JT has finally turned it around for me. I opt to become a bit more behind in lieu of actually going to bed in a good mood acquainted with the candidates I need to vote for in the 2006 election. I do not regret the decision. Words written: 0.

Day 7: Election night. The day starts with clouds and ends with a steady drizzle. (It is November, after all.) But I walk from my polling place to work in the morning, so I feel more energized and less resentful of a day spent inside. Plus, didn’t you know that all great novels really get going on “a dark and stormy night?” I alternate between typing and goofing off. I knit and watch House. I return a few emails. I watch election coverage, and rejoice as good news rolls in. But I also put in 2000+ words, which is the daily goal at the time.

Day 8: I sleep in a writing position over the keyboard.

Days 9-11: Writing officially goes on hiatus for several days while I reconsider whether I want to keep writing a novel. Reaction is mixed.

Day 12: After encouragement from home and abroad, I get back into the saddle and plot out where the book is going. This helps to resolve several questions. I include the outline in the same Word document that contains my manuscript, so it currently is being added to my word count. Hearing that one of the D.C. moderators is writing while undergoing cancer treatment does not make me feel encouraged about my slacking off; nor does it lessen my desire to slack off instead of write. The first conflict to feature both a suspect and a victim takes place.

Day 13: The novel crests the 10k mark and surpasses 20 pages. Suspect #3 is introduced. A person can get by on 4 hours of sleep. I know it’s possible. It just hurts. When is my victim going to die?

Day 14: I attend my very first write-in at a nearby coffee house. Sadly, less writing gets done than one might expect because participants are so excited to talk to someone, anyone. I did hear the reassuring tale of a girl who, last year, wrote the final 34,000 words of her novel in the last two days. I pick a random plot device out of a tin: A rusty hatchet. Despite my novel being a murder mystery, it does not really help my story. Perhaps it fits one of my readers’ stories and they would like it for their novel. If so, I bequeath it to you with the best wishes of the DC NaNoWriMos.

Day 15: My goal for tonight is to write 2,600 words, which will bring me up to 15,000 words over the first 15 days, and to kill off my victim right at the end. That will place the murder pretty much at the end of the first third of the book, which seems about right for the standard mystery genre formula I’m following.

You can’t read my novel, but you can view my progress. Please note that the progress bar measures by actual date. My own progress is recorded in “college days” (the idea that a day does not end until you go to bed; i.e., if you haven’t gone to bed in 36 hours, you’re still operating on one day’s worth of time), so writing that happens after 11 p.m. (their clock seems to still be running on daylight savings time) or so tends to get shuffled into the next day’s work. So really the progress bar makes me look like less of a slacker than I am.

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