NaNoWriMo 2012 Third Week

At 25,000 words, I’m halfway to the goal for National Novel Writing Month. We’re three-fourths of the way into the month.

It will be okay if I don’t reach 50,000 words by November 30, though. What’s most important to me is that I persevere through the end.

Not as if that’s easy.

I mentioned in my previous post that participating in NaNoWriMo is an experience of remembering. For me, it’s not only about remembering lessons for writing. It’s also about remembering who I am and what I’ve gone through.

I don’t like that part.

Stories are emotionally draining and take a considerable amount of real-life time to develop. The larger the story, and the more committed the writer, the more exhausting the story tends to be.

A big problem with exhaustion is that it allows the subconscious to rip open holes in the fragile barriers used to keep it out of the light.

My NaNoWriMo project is full of light; there’s humor more gentle than what I’m used to writing, charitable characters who understand how to learn from their struggles, and happy endings. Compared to the main characters in DeCo or RITN (or HC or SftP), the main characters of the story I’m calling Roseman are carefree. They aren’t dealing with daily abuse, physical issues that can’t be understood by the people around them, or the constant threat of losing their loved ones to murderers.

They are simply young adults, each with one traumatic experience in their past, learning how to face their personal demons while going through what would be normal lives if not for the creative way they decide to work together to heal themselves.

Yet I’m remembering that I writing exposes where I need to heal myself. My demons are rousing. I guess there is no way to push through the conflicted middle of a novel without awakening them.

Hopefully, I can learn through writing how to tame them, as well.

~ ~ ~

“I want to hide the truth. I want to shelter you.”


NaNoWriMo 2013 Second Week

The second week of National Novel Writing Month is over, and I’m moving into the third with less than 18,000 words.

This past week has been full of reminders, such as:

  • I’m an intuitive person and should trust my intuition. When I start writing a scene that feels right, chances are, I’ll see why it’s right once I’ve finished. Stopping to analyze the scene halfway through only wastes time. Similarly, trying to push past a feeling that a scene is wrong will usually create a writing block. A blank mind is worthless when writing.
  • I can’t inflate the word count much. Some NaNoWriMo participants purposefully write nonsense or copy and paste passages to meet daily word count goals. I remember using complicated syntax to elongate sentences, avoiding contractions, and adding dialogue tags at almost every opportunity when I participated in NaNoWriMo 2009. Tricks like those are of little use to me now that I’m no longer willing to litter my work with junk that will be difficult to clean up later.
  • Research takes time away from writing. However, without it, a scene might limp along for a want of the details that would make it complete. For my next NaNoWriMo, I’ll dedicate October to research and brainstorming, so they don’t slow me down as much.
  • NaNoWriMo encourages bad life habits. I’ve been staying up late, eating Halloween candy that I would otherwise be ignoring, and losing track of how much caffeine I’ve consumed. Thank goodness I’m no longer nursing.
  • Weaving is hard. I like to have multiple conflict threads going at one time, but I’m not terribly skilled at working them together.

Exhaustion is kicking in, and I wonder if anything will happen with this story in December. Still, this project seems like a worthy learning experience.

We’ll see how the third week goes.

NaNoWri…OMG it’s November Already

Hello! I am alive, I haven’t completely given up on my never-ending stories, and…well, yes, I am participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Participant

Really, I know I shouldn’t. There’s so many reasons why not:

  • I own a small business. (Enough said, right?)
  • My big employer recently promoted me to a position that requires considerable training.
  • My daughter, husband, dog, and cat need daily attention.
  • I’ll be traveling for Thanksgiving, which will take about a week of preparation, and shopping for Yule/Christmas in November (to satisfy a promise that I’ll buy gifts well in advance this year).
  • The house, as always, needs work. For example, our sole bathroom is currently lacking a floor. We can’t afford a contractor. That kind of work.

Writing-specific issues:

  • I still haven’t finished any of the novels I’ve started. RITN and DeCo continue to suffer the same problems they did years ago.
  • I already use “too little time” as an excuse not to submit my short stories.

On the other hand, I’m not going to have more free time next year, or probably, anytime in the next decade. If I wait until I have fewer responsibilities and less guilt, then I’ll never start another large writing project. RITN and DeCo both require more skill and knowledge than I have, and that’s not going to change unless I develop as a writer. Working on simpler projects of comparable word count can help in that development.

As for submissions, well, I consider that the most irritating part of the writing process. The long waiting time, I’ve learned to deal with. Rejections, I don’t mind. I cherish the personalized rejections I get, even though they tend toward, “We liked your story but can’t fit it in our publication”. What I hate is researching dozens of publications and fussing over my story in an attempt to get it ready for a market that doesn’t know what to do with the weird sh** I write.

Anyway. I’m not making excuses for avoiding NaNoWriMo this year. It’s a fun challenge, and one of the best excuses I know for meeting up with friends. If other responsibilities interfere with writing time, then I’ll shift my focus away from NaNoWriMo. Failing to complete the challenge will hurt only my pride.

I’m willing to take that risk.


What about you? Will you be working on a fun writing project this month?


No NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2010You’ve probably heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.  Thousands of novelists and would-be novelists rise to the writing challenge that officially takes place in November every year.

I participated fully in NaNoWriMo 2008 and attempted to modify the challenge in 2009. Both times helped me stifle self-doubt long enough to develop ideas and transfer difficult scenes to black and white.

By December 2008, I had drafted a prequel to RITN, and at the end of AnNoWriMo 2009, I had written roughly 100 new pages for DeCo.

Despite the benefits–as might have been obvious by now–I am not participating this year. Not only do I still need to finish the two novels that should have been done, uh, a while ago, but I’m still looking for permanent employment while commuting every day to a full-time job, helping my husband with martial arts programs, filling a baronial officer position in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and attempting to help with housework. Somewhere in each day, I must also squeeze in the little but essential tasks of sleeping, eating, etc.

Attempting NaNoWriMo would probably kill me.

So, I remind myself that there’s always next year and wish all participants the best of luck. Happy writing!

Review of AnNoWriMo: Week One

Out of necessity, I wrote for AnNoWriMo on Saturday and Sunday, originally scheduled as days off. The roughly 3,000 words I wrote over the weekend weren’t enough to catch me up. On this Monday morning, I should be at 10,000 words, twice my current word count.

I’m not worried, though. There are 12 buffer days–Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays (Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving)–remaining in AnNoWriMo.

By Monday, November 16, I would like to be on-target with 20,000 words. My goal for each “work day” would be 2,000 words if I were on-target with the first week’s 10,000 words. To accomplish the second week’s goal, I’ll need to average 3,000 words (roughly equivalent to 12 pages!) each work day or a little over 2,000 words (8.5 pages) each calendar day.

According to my outline, this week will cover scenes already familiar to me. I’ve written a version of some of these scenes before. The others I’ve envisioned enough times that I expect I can write them with little thought. That’s another reason not to worry about being behind on my word count, I guess. The scenes I’ll be writing while catching up won’t be overly difficult.

Of course, I’m fighting the habit to edit as I write. I deleted entire paragraphs before remembering the NaNoWriMo technique of striking out intolerable text to preserve a word count. There are other NaNoWriMo cheats techniques I’m not entirely comfortable using:

  • avoiding contractions (e.g., typing “do not” instead of “don’t”)
  • writing in a wordier style (e.g., “took without first gaining permission that which he would have purchased if he had previously come to possess the money” instead of “he stole”)
  • unnecessarily repeating information (e.g., “She told him not to go. Really, she insisted. ‘Don’t go,’ she insisted. ‘I don’t want you to go.’ He heard that she didn’t want him to go.”)

A high word count simply isn’t worth the risk of developing bad habits. Could you imagine the cleanup this winter if I consistently used the above techniques in AnNoWriMo?