Sunday, November 13, 2005

Day 13: Halfway home!

Today I had a pure and simple goal for my So-Called Novel: I wanted to reach the halfway point toward my 50,000-word NaNoWriMo goal.

Now that I have almost two weeks of daily novel-writing--and a "half-baked" novel draft--under my belt, I feel like I've learned, gained, or remembered a handful of important things:
  • This is a "zero draft." It's not going to read like a "real" (i.e. final draft) novel.
  • Cranking out 1,000 words doesn't take that much time: less than 40 minutes if I type continuously without stopping to edit.
  • If I don't worry about plot, my characters will find things to do with themselves: I just have to sit back and write it.
  • Although in retrospect I think trying to write a mystery without having a clearer sense of the plot, clues, etc. was a bad choice, I can still crank out word-count (and throw in some surprising plot twists) if I just let my typing fingers do the talking.
  • All factual errors, plot glitches, and narrative contradictions can be fixed later if I decide to revise this story.
The biggest thing I've learned from this second year of NaNoWriMo insanity is the fact that a month is far too short a time to decide whether what you've written is "good" or "bad," so that's why you should NEVER delete what you've written: just keep writing and worry about fixing it later. Only now--an entire year later--am I realizing that what I wrote last November wasn't all that bad...especially compared to what I'm writing this year.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence...and I'd add that Crappy Prose doesn't stink nearly as horrifically after you've let it ripen in the compost pile for, oh, about a year. That doesn't mean that I'm ready to publish last year's So-Called Novel as-it...but it does mean that I'm actually looking forward to going back to revise it now that the pain of writing it has passed. And perhaps this is the best way to "use" NaNoWriMo: as a way of generating a new So-Called Novel draft so you'll be really ready to revisit what you cranked out last year.

For now, though, I'm stuck with this year's So-Called Novel. And now that I've crested the halfway point, I'm hoping it's a downhill coast from here.
Word count: 25,041 (halfway = woo-hoo!)

Last line: More than finding Paul himself, Alexa wanted to find what he'd hidden from her: not exactly his heart, but the mysterious contents of those pilfered manuscript pages.


At 11/14/2005 10:45 AM, Blogger John said...


I had a dream last night abut NanoWriMo. I dreamt that I just decided to dive in (two weeks late) and take the challenge. Needless to say, ithe dream was a nightmare!

At 11/14/2005 4:11 PM, Blogger Lorianne said...

Hmmmm, John...maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something! :-)

There are always incredible come-from-behind stories during NaNoWriMo: folks who finished after starting on Nov 15, or folks who wrote 50,000 words in a single highly caffeinated weekend. :-)

In a word, *anything* is possible if you want it enough. As Zen Master Seung Sahn used to say, "If you think you can, you can. If you think you can't, you can't." The question isn't whether you *can*; it's a question of whether you *want* to.

I wonder how many words it would take to write down that dream... :-)

At 11/14/2005 4:13 PM, Blogger Diana said...

Oh, you are way ahead of me. Congrats!

I want to reach 25K by the 15th. I'm at 16K on the...oh. Today is the 14th. Crap.

Well, I'm just going to keep on writing and watch the words pile up and see what comes of it. I've already written about 15K more words than ever before on one project (woo hoo!).

Keep it up, Lorianne. You're doing great!

At 11/14/2005 6:29 PM, Blogger Lorianne said...

Diana, I had a productive weekend, so let's see whether I can keep it up word-count wise.

Congrats on reaching 16,000! Can you believe you've written that much in only 14 days???

The weird thing about NaNo word-counts is it's always theoretically possible to make massive progress on a given day if you have the time. Heck, with a productive afternoon or two, you'll be at halfway in no time...and it's all downhill from there!

Good luck, and enjoy the ride. :-)

At 11/15/2005 8:42 AM, Blogger John said...

So yeah...after I left the comment I took the dive and started pounding words out. After I failed to win NanoWriMo last year, I'm determined to do it this year.

Thank god I can type like the wind. It sure helps.

Congrats on being so far ahead and dealing successfully with an impending bout of writer's block!


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