Happy novel writing, NaNoWriMo scriveners! May your fingers be as nimble as your ideas are fast and may you reach your word count before the month is out. This year, I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo. Instead, I’m doing more of a NaWriMo in that I want to enjoy the positive energy and social writing atmosphere of the month to write more on a project I already have rather than start a new novel from scratch. All too often as an artist in general and a writer in particular I feel like I get just so far on a project before I get distracted by another idea which I chase down instead until such time as I get distracted again like a small child in a field of so many different colored butterflies. This time, I am resolved to stay the course and persevere on a project I already have rather than chase another fluttering idea.
Long time visitors here at the pond might recall that I wrote a piece of paranormal flash fiction called Cinderella’s Ghost. For the last two years I’ve been pecking away at continuing the story as a novella. I’ve planned it out. I’ve picked it up and put it down in favor of other projects but I have always circled back to it again. For the last few weeks I’ve been making real headway on the story and I’m keen to keep the momentum going. Over the last two years I wrote 33 pages, 9,372 words, by hand in a journal using my baggie of fountain pens on the story. One major achievement today is that I finally have the whole draft computerized. Yaaaaay! The fear of sweaty hands or a spilled cup of tea obliterating my words is now defeated. Huzzah!
With this story I changed my style a little. Rather than blindly blazing an inky trail of words across the terrifying blankness of my journal’s pages, I carefully planned out all the major beats of this novella. Two years ago, I made a 21 beat outline of each major scene/event from beginning to end and I have been methodically checking off each one. So far, I’m at beat 14 so I’m a little more than halfway through. I have had to add some scenes that I hadn’t originally planned out as the story has developed but making that kind of addition is a lot easier knowing pretty much where I am aiming to end up. Having the plan also has made it a lot easier to put down and pick up the story as needed over this time. I don’t know if I’ll be able to use this technique again, I think that will depend on the story and the characters, but it’s nice to know that at least so far it can work for me.
A buddy of mine is doing NaNoWriMo in earnest and I aim to keep them company as they progress through the month. I also hope to put some word count updates here at the pond as I type away, just to keep me honest.
What about you, dear readers? Are any of you attempting to write a novel this November? Are you just trying to, like me, write away at a current project? Please comment below thanks, as always, for stopping by the pond.