Weeking Musing: NaNo Check-in #5

Last and final week of NaNoWriMo and it has been hectic not just for me, but probably all other NaNoers. Not sure that’s a word but it is now. I started off the week well behind in my writing due to being away from home for almost a week dealing with moving to the other side of the country. I took my writing with me, though, anticipating I would have plenty of opportunity to work on it while on planes and waiting to get on planes. I should have known better. My month long issue with insomnia and time zone changes resulted in me getting very little sleep. As a result, I spent a good portion of that time trying to catch up on sleep or being so out of it that whatever I did write wasn’t very good.

When I got back home, I decided the best way to get back into the groove was to do a 5 hour marathon. That really helped with my productivity and allowed me to get over that magical 50,000 word mark before the end of the month. Woo hoo!

While I’ve technically ‘won’ NaNo, the book is not done. One thing the several days I was away from writing seems to have done is allow my brain to come up with an ending. Or at least an ending that will work for now. This in turn reenergized my writing knowing that an end was in sight. What a concept! Have goal, will write.

I know I won’t be done by November 30th, in fact I think I won’t be done until the middle of next week. Finishing the manuscript is very important to me especially as I will be moving in 2 weeks and also because I want, I need that feeling of having completed a novel. Granted it’s a horrible draft that will need a lot of work in subsequent drafts, but at least I will be able to say ‘Yes, I wrote a book.’ Something many people talk about doing but never start while others start but never finish.

Next week will be the final entry in my first NaNo experience. I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned over the month as well as how finishing up the book went.

Weekly Musing: NaNo Check-in #4

As I suspected, Week Three of NaNo saw me hit a bit of a wall. I still kept up on my productivity, with the exception of a couple days due to travel, yet I feel the quality of the writing wasn’t as strong. The ideas didn’t come as easily as the previous two weeks. It was though by no means as difficult as the first two days of NaNo were for me.

The problem I ran into this week was I did not truly understanding what story I wanted to write. I thought I had a clear idea; however the characters are partially to blame for the change. Instead of one plot, which saw my main character on a quest of a personal nature, it changed to my main character going through a series of adventures.

A new character also sprang up so there was considerable time spent on her backstory. This then snowballed into the realization I had provided very little backstory or context of the world these characters live in. But instead of concentrating on that I decided to jot down notes in EverNote to remind myself of what I needed to think about more for the next draft.

But the characters aren’t completely to blame. I share a huge bulk of the responsibility for the rambling plot, plot holes so big you could fly a Boeing 777 through them with room to spare, and continued inconsistent characterizations. That is a pitfall of pantsing it like I am this month. At the same time it is in keeping with the spirit of NaNo. Just going for it and realizing there are now over 300,000 other people going through similar experiences.

I did hit a milestone this week; on Monday I passed 40,000 words! And while the celebrated 50,000 words mark in within my reach, I am by no means close to being done with the book. I can’t say how much more I have as I am fighting to just come up with a plot to stay with long enough to construct an ending. I guess I should just stick with what I’ve got. After all, it can be fixed later.

Weekly Musing: NaNo Check-in #3

Just about the end on Week Two of NaNo and it went much, much better than Week One. On NaNo’s website, they have pep talks about slumps people go through in the second week due to the excitement of week one wearing off. Apparently I’m a bit odd, which I already knew, because I didn’t notice a slump. I don’t know if it is because I changed what novel I was going to write from one I had planned out to something completely new, but I didn’t feel any anxiety. I’ve just been letting the characters do what they want to do. The only thing worrying me at the end of the second week is I don’t have an ending.

Day 8: A pretty good writing day. I reached 10,000 words the day before which was a really good motivator heading into the weekend.

Days 9 – 10: November 9th was set aside by NaNo as a day to write as much as possible. I used it and Sunday as a personal challenge to write 6 hours each day. I discovered I was averaging about 2300 words in 3 hours so I thought I could probably push my total word count to 5000 each day.

Saturday I did it in 3 hour blocks with a nap in between. I only managed 3800 words which was good but also a bit disappointing. It was a lot of physical and mental fatigue and I lost a lot of steam at about the 5 hour mark but pushed through an additional 30 minutes. I also discovered that stopping at the 3 hour mark I lost a lot of story momentum.

On Sunday I changed up my strategy and decided to do write for 6 hours straight. The word count only went up to 4000 words so still below a target of 4600 words. The straight writing session was easier because I could keep going through with a thought yet at the same time I got more distracted. It wasn’t even the internet that was a distraction, it was just my mind wandered to everywhere but on my story.

Day 11: The novel felt like it was coming along quite well. I discovered it was becoming much easier to get into writing. I spent less time trying to figure out where to start since I developed the habit of leaving the previous day’s work at a good stopping point. I also discovered that I can’t quite completely squelch the Inner Editor but it has been at bay. The only thing I’ve been doing is taking notes and inserting comments to help remind me where I should expand descriptions.

Day 12: I passed the 25,000 word mark! Half way there to the 50,000 goal for the month! That doesn’t mean the novel is half done, though. Still don’t have an ending and the characters keep changing their minds about what they want to do and who they want to be. But at least I earned my reward of a nice lunch, a NaNo T-shirt, and cupcakes. Hmmmm, cupcakes.

Days 13 – 14: During this time period I passed 30,000 words count, another milestone down! I feel that the quality of the writing has been hit and miss but that’s not bothering me. What’s also not bothering me is the fact that I brainstormed a different opening and am considering aging up my main character. I’m still fumbling around with who these characters are as people. I think if someone read it the way it is, not only would they be confused as to what’s going on, but the inconsistent actions by each character. Might come off as a world full of bipolar schizophrenics. I figure when I revise it, that’s when I will get characters hammered out better and fix some of the gaping plot holes that currently exist.

So heading into Week Three I wonder if that’s when I’ll hit that wall I was supposed to have hit this week. I’m hoping I’ll get something nailed down for an ending to shoot for. I also think I may be surpassing 50,000 words before considering the novel finished. The overall experience for me has been a freeing one. It’s shown me that yes, I do have the work ethic and that I can get into a good routine. I can make the daily goal of 3 hours writing work even on days I am running around doing errands, filling out paperwork to sell my house, looking at houses for my new home, and being sick.