Saturday, November 17, 2012

NaNoWrMo week 2

We’ve crossed the halfway point so we all are up to at least 25,000 words.

Yeah, right.

I spent the day with some writing friends at Cheryl Klein’s plot class and the number people not doing NaNo this year surprised me. The obsession with word count and winning seems to be at issue. It is a worthy goal for some, yet a source of discouragement for others.

Cheryl Klein’s workshop was excellent, by the way. It deserves a post of its own one of these days.

This is my first NaNo so maybe the lack of experience equates to indifference, or low standards. I almost didn’t enter, knowing I simply do not have the time to slap down 1600 words each day. And if I’m doomed from the start, why even try?

If I get to 25,000 by the end of the month, I will be happy. In the middle of the week, I started keeping track. I’ve topped 700 once. My current rate is somewhere between 450 and 475 words per hour. I don’t have four hours a day to write. I can’t find much more than an hour a day.

NaNo calls for a different writing strategy. I get too meticulous, too compulsive in my normal writing mode. I can’t go onto chapter 2 until everything is right in the first. Each chapter requires perfection of the previous. This is on the first draft, mind you, bound to be re-written anyway in later drafts. NaNo has been nice in that I’m forced out of my comfort zone. You just throw it down. The heck with whether it’s right and it is liberating. Don’t need to worry about spell-check, only about ignoring those irritating red underlining the offending word. When I come to a difficult part, I write a note to myself to have the character do this or say that then move on. It moves the story and pads my word count.

Problems have arisen in the storyline itself, some minor, some not. I hate my main character’s name and have tried on three or four on him. None of them work so far, but it’s not a deal-breaker. There have been moments of doubt and realization that there is no story. Now, that’s a showstopper. It takes more wind out of the sails than low word count. So I’ve had to halt and spend part of my hour a day planning or Googling something for accuracy. I did write out my research notes and included them in my word count, too. Every little bit helps.

50,000 words by December 1? It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. A rough draft of a story? Maybe not even that. I will have a several thousand words and notes and other superfluous crap to edit through and mold into a story. That’s a win for me.

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