A confession before I begin: the last thing I wrote was a series of letters written by characters from 1806, so I have to fight the urge to capitalise all the nouns in this post. Hopefully the urge passes, but right now it’s an automatic process I have to keep overriding. Ah, outdated punctuation rules!
Most people step back from NaNoWriMo at the end of every week, but since my story is divided into 5 acts that I’ve split across the month accordingly, I’m doing this every 6 days.
Act I Stats:
- Words written (total): 22,326
- Day 1: 4,560
- Day 2: 4,520
- Day 3: 2,706
- Day 4: 3,703
- Day 5: 3,606
- Day 6: 3,231
- Morale (overall): Medium-high
- Day 1: 6 (started slowly, but went well)
- Day 2: 8
- Day 3: 6 (another slow start)
- Day 4: 8
- Day 5: 5 (average – morning was 2, evening was 8)
- Day 6: 7 (average – morning involved a temper tantrum)
- Writing locations:
- work (desk)
- work (library)
- Characters killed (on screen): 2
- Characters incapacitated (on screen): 5
- Characters brought into the future: 4
- Characters emotionally traumatised: 2
- Characters manfully soldiering on through their man-pain: 3
- NaNoWriMo-related Internet searches:
- “history of the ice cube”
- “anti-Napoleon caricatures”
- “British Napoleonic-era propaganda slogans”
- “British cavalry sabre”
- “British cavalry pistols”
- “Lord Byron’s letters”
- “capitalisation & punctuation in 1800 English letter-writing”
Traditionally Week 1 is the crazed rush time, with all the setup and juicy hints and craziness. Week 2 is where it starts getting hard; you have to start expanding and explaining things, rather than just tossing in new stuff, and both your characters and your plot need to grow and advance. This will probably happen, as Act 1 for me involved the setup, with all the culture shock and character introductions and new species and technology and time travel. Act 2 is the “settling in and developing” phase, so we’ll see how that goes.
One thing I will add for people who are struggling: don’t be afraid to edit — just be careful how you do it. NaNoWriMo has a “no editing” clause that I ignore when I see fit, because sometimes, it’s what I need to do to move on. On the 5th, I had started in completely the wrong direction, and only after talking it out and doing a heavy delete-edit-rearrange was I able to continue — for another 3,000 words that day, fixing my stalled plot.
Editing is only bad if you do it instead of writing, if you let it flip you over from ‘creative mode’ to ‘super picky analytical mode’ and scare you into doubting yourself. Sometimes — especially in my case — I need to edit, or the story will simply not continue. I remember once, during my high school Star Wars fanfic days, I had been stuck at the same spot in my story for about two weeks, whereupon I finally tore out about 20 pages from my draft binder. Within a day, I had made them back.
Don’t let anyone tell you not to edit if you know the story needs it — just don’t let it become a crutch, and don’t do nitpicky things. Only edit if you have the gut feeling that this is all wrong, that you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. Also, don’t delete if you can help it — make a “graveyard file” and put the words there, in case you can use them later. I make a folder in Scrivener, outside the manuscript hierarchy; others change the text colour to white and put it at the end. Whatever works for you.
How are your novels going?