08 November 2008

Further NaNoWriMo progress: Almost at 25,000!

Another progress report from the front-lines of National Novel Writing Month.

We have now entered Week Two. According to NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem!, “As you write your way through the next seven days, know the Week Two hurts so bad because you’re making huge strides in your book, solving a year’s worth of plot and character problems in one overcaffeinated week.”

My own experience with my other novels is that the three-quarters mark is the toughest section. It’s “The Wall,” “The Hump,” the obstacle that once you get past, the rest is (relatively) smooth sailing. For the writers who started with less plot than I did, I imagine life does get tricky this week.

However, I am running into trickiness after a brisk first week. I’m currently at close to 25,000 words, the halfway mark, on the eight day. Darn good, especially considering that I wrote nothing on Tuesday, November 4th, a major day in U.S. history—no way I was getting any writing done.

Odd things have started to happen in the book, as I expected. The main character has surprised me with some of her strange developments and emotional turmoil. I started the book with her as a bit of an enigma, but she’s shown plenty of surprises and I’m starting to enjoy her a lot. Other characters are changing into having different roles, and the general tone has come out to more grim and violent than I originally expected. I’ll have plenty of work ahead of me on the revision, when I look over all these emerging ideas and see what the book really wants to be.

The novel is also showing its potential length. NaNoWriMo aims at 50,000 words for the month, but I will definitely spill over into December, after writing tallies have stopped, and keep going until the book finishes. At the 25,000 point, the story seems to only be at the one third mark, so I think I’m looking at a 75,000 to 80,000 word first draft.

I’ve spread out my canvas of writing locations during these first eight days, which was always one of my goals in taking part in NaNoWriMo. I’ve done plenty of writing on the desktop in my apartment, but I’ve spent two Saturdays at the Beverly Hills Library, was on my own at a nearby Coffee Bean last night, and wrote with another NaNoWriMo writer, Larking, at Literati in Brentwood on Monday. There’s another Write-In at Literati tomorrow, and I think we’ll get even more people. I was pleased with the results of the Write-In, since I’ve never done writing with another person like that, but it ended up working well for me—you feed off each other’s energy, and its less distracting than you might imagine. Plus, you can take a break and discuss various frustrations/triumphs.

So, onward and upward. To Arkham, and the Stars!