Half-Way Through NaNoWriMo

Good evening, everybody. First, let me take a minute to introduce you to the newest member of the family: Spice.

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Well, it’s a couple hours until midnight, and today’s date is November 15th. That’s right, folks. NaNoWriMo is nearly half over, and guess what? I’m halfway to my NaNoWriMo goal. I’ve written 25,112 words on my novel Making of a Beast: The Fall From Beauty. I’m not going to lie, some days, I don’t even want to look at it, let alone keep writing it. Other days, I’m on a roll and I don’t even really want to stop. As I noted earlier in one of the NaNoWriMo groups I’m in, I’m torn between begging someone to read it so I can get some feedback and maybe fix some of the problems I see emerging, and wanting to bury the darn thing underneath 25 mattresses so it never see the light of day again.

I’m sure I’m not the only one having a love/hate relationship with my novel, but you know what, for at least the next 15 days, I’m committed to it, ’til December parts us.

I have to say, I’m blown away by the sheer volume of words I’ve written in the past fifteen days. I’ve written 25,112 words on my novel, and 13,525 words of fan fiction, bringing me to a whopping total of 38,637 words (not counting blog posts and other incidental writing that crops up in my life of course). For the first week, it was pretty much par for par that I was writing as much fan fiction as I was my novel. Since I wasn’t liking my novel much at that point, writing a good bit of fan fiction helped keep me sane, because I was enjoying that. I love writing fan fiction. I’ve had some great discussions on topics I enjoy with some fantastic people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I do feel like it’s helped me become a better writer in many ways, though I know I still have a long way to go. I was really touched this past week when I received a message from someone saying that my current work in progress was nominated for a fan fiction award on that person’s blog. It’s not exactly a Newberry Medal or a Nebula Award, but it felt pretty cool to be appreciated. If you want to check out my fan fiction, the person who runs the Energize W.I.P. Awards posted the link on her blog here where you can vote until November 20th. If you want to see my story (and I’ll admit I’m kind of hesitant to post the link here), Law and Marriage is located here. I’m not going to call it brilliant literature, and there’s certainly a number of things I need to go back and fix, but it was new territory for me when I started writing it, and for that, I am proud of it.

I’m also proud of the fact that by and large, I’ve managed to stay on track with my novel this month, no matter how many times I wanted to throw in the towel. I didn’t manage 1666 words every day–on days when things were really flowing I wrote more because I knew there would be days when I felt stuck. I was on par for my total word count every day but the 12th. As sick as I’ve been the past week or so, I can live with that.

I thought I’d mention a few of the problems that have cropped up for me while making myself work on my novel:

1. I killed off my villain on page 2 when she unleashed her vengeance on the main character for something he did before the story starts.

  • This was kind of stupid. How do you move the plot forward when your villain is gone?
  • Actually, this wasn’t as stupid as it could have been. Several of my favorite books (Ella Enchanted, Howl’s Moving Castle, Beauty) revolve around the fact that the main person is in a bad situation, without there necessarily needing to be a showdown between good and evil. Admittedly, Howl’s Moving Castle does have a pretty nasty villain, but she hovers around the edges of things once her task of putting Sophie into a situation is accomplished. Given that I enjoy these sorts of books, I shouldn’t be surprised that that’s how I wrote this.

2. I don’t have a full idea of who all of these characters are yet or what I want to do with them. I need a fuller understanding of their personalities, and then their actions and motives will speak to me, which is closer to how I normally write.

  • That was one of the advantages of fan fiction, I’ll admit. Some people minutely plot out their stories far in advance. I’ve never written that way. A situation will cross my mind, and I’ll say, “That’s interesting. I wonder how X would respond to that.” And it goes from there. The things that feel like the natural action the character would take are the things I write. I let their personalities tell me where the story is going. That has worked pretty well for the 1.4 million words of fan fiction I’ve written since middle school. It’s a whole lot less effective when I don’t really know who my characters are yet.
  • On the bright side, I am learning who my characters are, and deciding what does and doesn’t feel natural for them, what makes them tick. It’s just going to be a slow process.

3. I don’t really have any concept of how long this novel is going to be or how long I need to spend on the different sections of it. I’ve rather imagined this story taking place over the course of several hundred years–long enough for a kingdom to stop missing its king.  In the beginning I felt like I needed to get to the later things quickly, and I was frustrated with how long it was taking to get there. Well, that’s ridiculous. The first part of the story does need a reasonable amount of time spent on it, and I’ll give it what it needs.

The first 2 things on this list were my two biggest problems, though I’m sure I’ll think of more as soon as I’ve hit “publish post”. That’s always the way of things, isn’t it?

Anyway, I’m halfway done. I’ve got another couple of hours before midnight, and today’s goal has been met. Now, it’s time for me to work on my secondary goal: getting the next chapter of my fan fic written and ready to be posted on Monday.

Are you involved in NaNoWriMo? How is your storying going? Have you written yourself into a corner? Does it look like smooth sailing?

Are there any new recipes you think I should try when it’s time to take a break from writing? I plan to post a YouTube video soonish of my favorite quiche recipe. And because you have sat through a long and rambling post as I procrastinate on the writing I promised myself I’d do, I thought you deserved another picture of our adorable kitten.

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Well, Spice says it’s time to get to work!

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4 thoughts on “Half-Way Through NaNoWriMo

    • Thanks, Brantley! I really try to record my successes and failures here–I feel like it’s important to learn from mistakes, and to know that everybody makes them. I hope that by sharing mine, it will help people realize that mistakes can be overcome, and they’re generally not going to cause permanent problems. Is there anything you’re attempting to do for the first time right now? Or anything you’re learning?

      • All of it is new haha. Just having a daily goal has helped to keep me on track. I can’t always find time to sit down and write, but knowing where the finish line is helps me make up missed days.

        All in all it’s been a very positive experience!

      • Most definitely! I have to say, I’ll procrastinate on my writing and not have time for it all day and most of the evening, and usually around 9:30 or 10 at night I say, “Okay, time to happen” and manage to get something down by midnight. Occasionally it’s even something good!

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