Tag Archives: November

November: A Recap

I completely forgot to write a blog post last week. I think I remembered when I was going to bed on Monday night, and I just never got to it.

November is over (duh), and I’m proud to say I’ve got yet another first draft of a story done. The Thanksgiving week was tough but I pushed through and stayed on target. The hardest part, I think, was the last 5,000 words or so. And that always seems to be a struggle. My stories seem to fall into one of two camps: either I put off writing the end because I don’t think it’s time yet, or I have to drag it out because I didn’t plan quite enough to get my word count where I needed it to be. But that’s ok. This year, I finished. And I wrote just about every day (I missed November 30, I was done with my project and I needed a break.).

My story this year turned out to be very different than what I’d intended. While on the surface it stayed mostly the same, my characters surprised me. I didn’t mean to when I set out, but I wrote several misunderstood characters. But that made the process that much more fun, because I got to enjoy the journey of discovery as I went.

For December, I plan to try to revisit the nameless project I’ve been refining all year. Then perhaps in January I’ll be ready to dig into the hot mess that is my NaNo 2017 novel. But even if all I do this month are some writing exercises from my Writer’s Notebook, that’s ok too. I think I have earned a little break. I’ve worked hard this year.

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The final days

I’m less than 1,000 words away from winning NaNoWriMo this year (writing 50,000 words).

I have two days left, not counting today (and I don’t because I have to leave for work in an hour).

And I still have to wrap up this chapter and wrap up the whole story.

Where I am at almost feels like a climax of its own, but it’s actually the story winding down. Whether it will be a series or just one of the ambiguously cyclical stories that annoy some people and refresh others, I haven’t really decided. That will be something to consider later on, after I’ve finished the story and read through it again. At that point, I’ll be able to see if there is enough new ideas to pursue a series. Or, perhaps, I’ll be dissatisfied, and I’ll write another chapter or an epilogue or something. But all of that will be December’s problem. (Ok, probably a problem for some time later on in life, I never seem to get around to earnestly editing any of my projects.)

When I hit 40,000 words, I felt like I was running out of steam. As I looked at my outline for the last two chapters, I was wondering how on earth I was going to write them at 5,000 words each (even though just last week I was bragging about how they were such dense chapters). When it came down to it, I thought I was going to come up short.

But this gave me a great opportunity to add in some “extra” content that showed different strengths of different characters, and I think will really make the last chapter of the story make sense. I was able to add in a little bit of the snapshot of life kind of scenes that make the character real, show time passing, and give just a short break from the hustle and bustle of the main storyline.

So now here I am, just a little over 49,000 words, and I’ve still got the entire final chapter to write. If I’m honest, I’ll probably put that off until December (I’ve got a book calling my name, and I need to finish it so I can blog about it on Friday!).

But I’ve learned a lot about my writing process since I’ve tried out some new things this year, the biggest being that even if I plan and give myself structure, I still have creative license and freedom. While in general my story is the same as when I started out, several characters turned out to be very different than I had expected. And by letting myself plan as I go, I was able to adjust the key events in later chapters to reflect the new strengths and weaknesses that I discovered in my characters.

And finally, I was able to simply enjoy the writing instead of stressing over what is supposed to come next or how to pass time before moving on to the scene that is supposed to happen next month. So, I’ve committed myself now to being a semi-planner. I know where I’m going, but I can take side roads to get there.

Onward now to those final words.

The home stretch

I knew there was something I was forgetting to do this morning.

I skipped Friday’s blog because my current read has taken me longer to get through, due to my writing, than usual. I forgot to write this blog post last night, like I always do. And then I forgot to write it this morning at work, because I had other thoughts bouncing around in my mind.

I’m in the home stretch of Nano, and the home stretch of drafting my novel. I just hit 35,000 words (seriously, like five minutes ago), and I’m feeling like it won’t be hard for me to keep going on to the end. I have about six chapters left, which, with any luck, will be enough material for 15,000 more words, and I think it will be, because some of them are pretty dense chapters, and I haven’t killed off anyone important yet.

My writing has definitely slowed down this last week. And I feel like that is pretty normal, a part of my process. I fly through in the beginning chapters, and the further in I get, the slower the writing becomes. When I;m staring at a word count goal, I find myself wondering if I have the content to reach it. I spend time staring at a blank screen trying to think of relevant filler, interesting things to give me some extra words. And though it’s not like any story I write now will be ready to go without significant editing, I always prefer to have too much than not enough, even if it’s too much garbage.

So, I’m slowing down. The 30,000s usually do that. And once I hit 40,000 (shooting for Wednesday sometime), the last 10,000 usually go pretty quickly.

I’m not sure how much from my writing class I’m putting into practice, but I’m trying. Trying to make my dialogue mean something. Trying not to have my people stand around nodding or smiling too much. I like to think they sound like different people and not robots. But, I suppose all of that we will see later on.

For now, it’s all about getting it down on paper.

Onward to NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is the first day of November.

Which means it’s time to start a new writing project.

If I were a different person, I would just set myself to finishing the project I’ve got started. But, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to do that, so, I’m not going to. And, I haven’t even touched that project since last week, when I wrote a little so I could blog about it…

It just donned on me a few days ago that I should probably start some planning and prep for NaNo, like choose one of the ideas I’ve got scribbled down and at least flesh it out a little. So, I’ve begun. I’ve got the prologue planned, at least.

As much as I do frequently cherish the “fly by the seat of your pants” approach I’ve taken in years past, I also like the less stress the comes with planning and having general directions on where my story is going. Because the last thing I need in my life right now is more stress. So, I’ll be doing some more planning in these final hours. (I swear I intended to do it earlier.)

The working title for my NaNo project is “The Remnant Children,” and focuses on a young woman whose entire country is annihilated when she is 7 years old. The country was a tributary to a king, and when they tried to claim independence, he wiped them all out, allowing only children younger than 10 to live as slaves. She, conveniently, works for the king’s palace, and comes into contact, as an adult, with the prince, who was fed a very different version of events and is appalled when he learns the truth. He can see her desire for revenge, and even understand it. He has no undying love for his father, so now he much choose, does he help her get revenge, or advocate the path of forgiveness?

This isn’t nearly as detailed an outline as I’ve had before, and, as I said, as far as a chapter-by-chapter outline, I’ve got the prologue outlined. So, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Especially if I only have work breaks to work on it.

But! I’ve got the first two days of November off, which means I can give myself an excellent start to the month, and get myself ahead.

So, here’s to November, and all the hopes and  dreams it brings.