02 November 2008

My first official NaNoWriMo progress report

The first two days of National Novel Writing Month have come and gone (well, as I write this, there are thirty more minutes remaining before Day 2 is officially over), and I’ve managed a pleasant 9,136 words so far on my new novel Orphans of Fenris. Plenty of shocks have already occurred in the 9,000+ words, and I’ve already started a long dissertation in my notebook on the various revisions for afterward and some of the surprises I might yet pull in the coming days.

Writing a novel is always an intoxicating experience for me, an altered state of being that mixes heady joy with fear and tensions. Doing this all as part of NaNoWriMo makes it even more intense, since I have a deadline and a pack of other people along for the ride. I have yet to do any “write-ins,” where the authors gather in a communal place like a coffee shop and write together, but I look forward to attending some in the coming week.

Saturday was intense. I started at 12:00:01 a.m. on the click of the atomic clock up on my web browser. By the time I went to bed at 2 a.m. I had gotten some 2,500 words finished—and felt good about them. I woke up the next day and went to the Beverly Hills Library and worked out another two thousand or so words on my NEO. Then that night, after dinner, I returned once more to the desktop and ended with a bit over 7,000 words for the first day—the most I’ve ever written in a novel in a single twenty-four hour stretch. Let me tell you folks, getting a good head start feel powerful.

Today was a busier day, so my limited time only allowed about about 2,100 words, which still is above the daily requirement of 1,667. (I have to go dancing, you know.) This puts me at a comfortable 9,000 and change after the two days. I don’t expect I’ll get much done of Tuesday, since I’m attending the official Obama Los Angeles Election Night Party at the Century Plaza Hotel, so I’m glad I’m currently at three days ahead of the NaNoWriMo schedule. I expect to knock out another 3,000 words tomorrow as well, since I have nothing planned in the evening.

The story continually surprises me. Although I have a nine-page outline and a solid idea on the story—much different than most NaNoWriMo authors who like to walk in with only a wisp of a notion reagrding what they want to write—I still am allowing myself detours into weird ideas and characters behaving in unusual ways. I keep generating new notions and then jot them down in my notebook in long hand. Already, I can sense that this book will shoot far over the 50,000 words of NaNoWriMo’s goal and I will keep writing into December. I expected that, but the details and characters emerging these first two days have made it a solid plan. I’m in for a long, exciting, and sometimes terrifying ride with Orphans of Fenris. So far, it’s the most violent novel I’ve written, which has come at me unexpectedly. I’ll see where this goes. Anything can change in the revisions.