In case you weren’t already aware, November is National Novel Writing Month. Traditionally, writers will try to pen 50,000 words in 30 days with the goal of having a “finished” draft by the end. I’ve participated in the event three previous times, and it wasn’t until I became a NaNoWriMo “Rebel” that I actually succeeded. My first attempt, in 2015, never made it past 10,000 words and has languished in a forgotten computer file ever since. In 2019, I used the month as motivation to finish a complete draft of my MFA thesis and succeeded. In 2021, I set a goal of writing every day for at least an hour or 500 words and ended the month with almost 35k.
Even though this has already been a good writing year for me, I wanted to participate again. In 2022, my goal is to write at least 700 words every day on a new novel and end with at least 20k of a rough draft. My other (easier) goal is to finish another edit and revision on my novella so I can send it off to my agent. Both of these goals, cumulatively, will give me over a 50k word count so I can “win.”
We’re already one week into the month, and I’ve made good progress. For my sake, I’m using abbreviations for the novella and novel to differentiate them. The novella goes by TMR; the novel is V. My writing has been described as “rural recluse paranoia” and both works fit into that weird little genre. I know people usually share daily stats or updates for accountability, but weekly is more my style. Here’s how it went:
I finished revision on the first part of TMR. Although the word count didn’t majorly change, I added a few key details and interiority to help with inciting incidents and suspense-building. Although I haven’t read these pages since August, I’m still fond of this story and amazed I initially wrote it in less than a month.
Over the past two months, I’ve struggled over what idea I wanted to dedicate this month to. I narrowed it down to four and then, after asking for some feedback, I went with the “Sapphic desert academia” book I started developing in Australia. Write while you’re enthusiastic, right? The first day was a struggle and I wrote three similar yet different beginnings before sticking with the last one. It’s important for me (and others) to remember sometimes the goal isn’t perfection but practice and plot; mistakes can always be fixed later.
I’ve written every day, usually in the morning or early afternoon, and V currently sits around 6,300 words. So, compared to my goal, I’m ahead. The first two chapters and three ‘sources’ are written. This is my first time writing a novel with epistolary elements, and it’s a fun challenge to think of different resource documents. This has involved investigating missing person’s reports, modern fiction, and literary criticism. People may argue whether planning or pantsing is better, but I end up doing a bit of both. I pick a setting I’m familiar with, realize how little I know the details, and use more time than I should researching that too. It all comes out in the revision.
I’ll update every week with my progress (or lack thereof). Most of my writing has been completed to film scores: Pride and Prejudice, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Anna Karenina, Princess Diaries. I’m also burning my way through several fall-scented candles. Every week, I’ll try to add a tidbit from the project; for this first update, I’m including the mood board below. And if you’re also participating, keep in touch, good luck, and it never hurts to rebel.
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