Friday, November 6, 2009

Nanowrimo Update: Week 1

Just as I suspected. If Billy S. could write a classic in one fortnight, imagine
the possibilities in 30...

Week 1 was a success. Though I missed the first day of writing because I was in transit from NYC back to DC, I made up for it in the following days and have been a writing fool ever since. I'm currently at 12,529 words, or 25% of the way there.

What I've learned in Week 1 of Nanowrimo:

1.) 50,000 words in 30 days is surprisingly less painful than I thought it would be. According to the Nano Gods we're supposed to write 1,667 words per day to be on track. The idea of it seemed daunting, and I'll admit that I was quite intimidated in the final weeks of October in anticipation for the race to begin. I didn't know what to expect as this was my first time. Would I have time to blog at all? Bathe? Read? Keep up with the Kardashians? Usually I write at my own pace and I don't -- by any means -- crank out pages like a robot unless I've been hit by my muse (who, by the way, bears a striking resemblance to Olivia Newton John in Xanadu). But I knew that for the month of November I'd have to turn into a writing machine. I would eat words for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Why? Because I need to win. It's in my blood and I won't accept anything less. (A word of caution: You do not want to play dodgeball with me.)

2.) Ok, so 50,000 words will be as easy as cherry pie. (Watch, now I've jinxed myself.) Word count aside, the hardest part for me is going to be finishing my story, making sure it's got a beginning, middle and end by November 30th and not just a beginning and middle in 50k. I would still be dubbed a "winner" by the Nano folk, but to me that's not winning -- I would be left with a half-finished 1st draft. According to agents a 50,000 word manuscript isn't even a novel, it's more a novella and I've got a sneaking feeling that to wrap up my story it's going to take more than 50k word anyway. Hence why I'm writing as if my keyboard is a bed of hot coals. Must keep moving phalanges!

3.) Coffee is your friend.

4.) An outline is the golden ticket. I don't know how people finish a somewhat cohesive 50,000-word first draft in one month without having an outline. Though I'm past 200 pages on my first book, I can now see why it's been a lot more slow-going than my Nano manuscript. I didn't really outline that first book, and it's costing me. Not to say that it's crap, but it makes it harder to focus, stay on track and crank out pages when you're meandering through your storyline, feeling out which direction to go. With my Nano book I had a 10-page outline I'd worked on in October in anticipation of "staying focused." This outline is my Godsend. Could I write a Nano book without one? Yes, but it would be more scattered and all over the place and make it easier to take frequent breaks to catch up on Project Runway or bake cookies or churn my own butter or do anything other than work on my story.

Word count breakdown by day:

Nov. 1 (Sunday): 0
Nov. 2 (Monday): 3,778
Nov. 3 (Tuesday): 3,407
Nov. 4 (Wednesday): 2,473
Nov. 5 (Thursday): 2,871
Nov. 6 (Friday): Currently in progress


Mrs. Micah said...

You're making fantastic progress! :)

Regarding having an End at the end of the month--this is something I've been thinking about. My novel doesn't seem like it's going to be a 50k word novel. If I keep going at this pace, I can get in 60k words by the end of the month, but that still might not be enough.

I've decided to keep it up with at least 400 words/day in December if I'm not done. That's enough that I can still write my 3 blog posts/week + do other stuff, but I'll make concrete progress.

So far I'm really excited--this first week I've had a helpful muse that keeps the words flowing. Scared of jinxing myself by saying it's easy. :P

Also got an in-depth outline. There's a few mushy spots near the center, but the ending is concrete right now. I've been adapting the outline as the story adapts.

Are you going to any of the DC write-ups?

Crystal said...

Thanks! I know what you mean about even 60k not being enough. I think your plan for Dec. is perfect, so you'll have time to do other things too.

I have a few mushy spots in my outline too, but doesn't it help so much to at least have one? I definitely allow myself to veer off the outline occasionally if I feel it's necessary to the story, but overall it's helped so much.

Haven't planned on going to any of the write-ups, but I might a little later this month. :)

MrsMis said...

Look at you go!! congrats on making it to the 1/4 mark :) and as far as the coffee goes- starbucks white peppermint mocha is to die for.

Mrs. Micah said...

Outline has been my rock (even the mushy parts) so far--even though I've added things or changed things.

If you decide to go to a write-up, @me? At the least I'm doing a few of the National Portrait Gallery ones, though I'm out of town on the 21st and after Thanksgiving, and I may go to the mid-month party on the 14th.

Chloe (Naturally Frugal) said...

That is A LOT of words, and I am super impressed. Do they do the challenge every month? It might be fun to do a mini-nano on my own, just to see if I could.

Do we get to read the completed story?

Kim said...

Good for you not only for starting this but for sticking to it! You're making excellent progress.

Mandy said...

Wow, you're my heroine! I've been spending my days as toddler social director, making mommy playdates and painting ceramic plates, LOL! Oh well, such a different life we lead. We'll always have Saved By The Bell and Gone With the Wind though....

Saving Cents in the City: said...

Wow! I'm at about 8k so I'm a little behind, but I know I will be able to catch up this weekend. :)

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