We are almost halfway through National Novel Writing Month. This is the point where people usually start falling behind, lose inspiration or motivation, and struggle to reach their goal. However, for some, it’s also the point where they may have already hit 50k and kept going. As a NaNo Rebel, I have a bit more freedom with my time and this helps preserve some of my energy. It’s, perhaps, easier to go for a moderate monthly goal than worry about everyday word counts. Some days offer more words than others.
I’ve made good progress in both of my projects this week. The novella (TMR) and novel (V) are both on track for me to “win” this month. I’m not immune to the hardships, either. On Tuesday, I was busy and too exhausted to write. I didn’t force myself to sit in front of a screen and spew words I knew I’d delete. Instead, I dedicated the day to self-care and was better for it.
This week, I’ve made it through an additional chapter-and-a-half and another epistolary source for V. I introduced one of the major supporting characters and learned new things about my protagonist as she interacted with various conflicts. Most of my research is still regional because I like getting details right, but I had fun filling in those small blanks that flush the world. And—in an interesting change from what I normally write—I had to brainstorm several fake books that exist in my story and are important to the plot. I’m sure none of those fictional fictions will ever be real, but they’re fun to imagine.
What makes it a bit easier to progress through this new novel is my own pacing. I usually try to hit at least 700 words, and sometimes that means stopping in the middle of a scene or chapter. When I lose steam, I don’t beat myself up about it but use the time away from the computer to brainstorm and plan where the story is going next and what needs to happen. Then, when I come back the next day, I know what I’m trying to accomplish and can move forward. This process resulted in 5,515 words this week for a new total of 11,824. I’m over halfway to my goal for NaNo!
The edit and revision of TMR is also going well. I spent a lovely night with the physical manuscript in bed, marking the errors and details with a pen. One of my key strategies is reading the draft aloud, because this can catch small grammatical errors and weird phrasing. How else would I have found the hilarious misspelling of “pantry” to “panty”? The story is taking better shape. This week, I cut over 200 words and only added a few sentences to round subplots and foreshadowing. So, with six more chapters revised, I’m also a little over halfway done with this.
As promised, I’m including a different tidbit every week. This time, I’m posting a paragraph from the novel draft. The more I write this character, the more I love them. If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, please feel free to comment with your progress, a sneak peek, or anything else. Good luck!
“The archivist isn’t like the university librarians at home. Instead of slacks and a blouse, she’s wearing denim and a large t-shirt from 1993’s Great Reno Balloon Race. Her skin is weathered by the sun, browned and spotted, and it ages her. Her hair is streaked with gray that can’t be hidden by the dark dye, and none of it matches her roots. Most different of all, the archivist doesn’t reach forward for a handshake and instead wraps her arms around me with a quick squeeze. I’m not sure I like it.”
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