NaNoWriMo update #2


After getting a late start on National Novel Writing Month, I’ve managed to catch up on the word count and even get a head for a short period of time.  When I began, my goal was 50,000 words/the whole novel in November.  A couple of chapters in, I realized that those are two very, very, very different things.  I’m sticking with the number 50,000 (though I’m aiming for 1,700 words/day rather than the actual 1,666.66666666666 words/day because I’m extremely OCD like that).  

Halfway through the month, I should be at 25,000 words (or 25,500 based on my 1,700/day quota).  So far, I’ve got 25,394 words on 49 pages making up 5 chapters.  I’ve got the sixth chapter mapped out and ready to go for tomorrow morning.  

My modus operandi has been to sit down for as long as possible and write while shotgunning coffee and throwing the tennis ball for my dog.  This method usually puts me ahead of my daily quota.  Day after day in the 1,700+ column put me two days ahead of the game earlier this week.  The cushion allowed me a day to go back and fix some chapters that  weren’t really up to snuff, even by rough draft standards.  

Two or three days in a row this week, I was cranky by the time I closed the laptop.  Eventually, I diagnosed the problem:  I had my characters doing things that they wouldn’t actually do.  It was uncomfortable to realize that I spent hours shoving these fictional people in the wrong direction, but there was an enormous silver lining to those mistakes.  My writing sucked and I was able to figure out exactly why.  Also, I’ve already gained enough knowledge about my characters to know when they aren’t acting like they should.  

This thing is a zombie survival story told from multiple perspectives.  It follows a group of survivors working together to rebuild some semblance of civilized society.

It’s a story that I’ve been cultivating for years.  I had Lajos Egri-style character profiles.  I had plot outlines.  I had premises ranging from, “That makes sense,” to “That doesn’t make much sense,” to “What the hell was I thinking?”  I even had a handful of crappily written chapters.  It feels wonderful to finally do something with all of these poorly labeled documents on my computer.  

If you remember my first update from last week, I still plan on editing this up enough that I can post some of it without dying of embarrassment.  It’s on my to do list, but the word count has been demanding (but not as demanding as my poor girlfriend with strep throat) this week.  

I promise I will get on it!


2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo update #2

  1. This was a great post about how you’re doing on your novel. I understand exactly what you mean about being glad that you understand what’s wrong with your story and are able to fix it. I attempted to write this story twice before and just ended up with a couple of hand-written pages in notebooks. I had one of those notebooks (with about 800 words) when I started the story this time around. The other notebook may be on the far side of the ocean. It really does feel good to finally be making concrete progress on these things, doesn’t it? I’m looking forward to getting to read excerpts from your story! I’m getting the vibe that it’s something along the lines of World War Z?

  2. Good job diagnosing the problem! Sometimes it’s frustrating for me when my characters diverge from my tidy little outline, but it usually results in something 10x better than what I’d had planned. Your concept sounds awesome. Can’t wait for you to post a bit. 🙂

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