NaBloPoMo: The Trials of Writing

Anyone who read yesterday’s post summing up how last week went may recall me saying that I was still behind on NaNoWriMo. Well, I am pleased to announce that this is no longer the case. After a solid two-and-a-bit hours of writing I have got just short of 5000 more words written and am now perfectly on track!

By today we needed to be at 41666 words. Before I started writing today I was at 37105. I actually slightly surprised myself when I finished a sentence, glanced at the word counter and noticed that I was at exactly 41666. Exactly. Precisely. Spot on. Etc.

I actually did a few extra words because I wanted to. Which means I am now sitting at 41870 words. That’s forty one thousand eight hundred and seventy words. Just think about that. One hundred and twenty nine pages. If that’s not enough numbers for you I can give you some more: one thousand and ninety six paragraphs; two thousand eight hundred and ninety seven lines; 231697 characters with spaces, and 190713 without.

Okay that’s enough numbers for now.

Can you tell I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself? This is the first time this entire month that I’ve been on target, let alone ahead of it (even if it is only a couple of words ahead!) In fact I’m fairly sure I’ve never been on/ahead of target in any of the years I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo. I am going to win this year. I can feel it.

The only thing is…. This novel is way way way more than nine thousand words from completion. I’m maybe at the half way point. A lot has happened, a lot more needs to happen. Actually the next half is probably going to be harder to write. The problem is there need to be some time jumps. Like at one particularly point I need to pass through several years to get from important thing a to important thing b. I’m not entirely sure how to go about this… If any of my lovely readers have any suggestions, or can think of any stories that pass great chunks of time particularly effectively please do let me know in the comments!

I think the main reason this year’s NaNoWriMo has been so much more successful than previous years (and I’m not being premature here – even if I don’t write any more ever again I’ve been more successful than previously!) is because I actually planned the story out, at least somewhat. I’ve always hated planning stories. I prefer to go with the flow. But this time I did it. Well actually it was in the summer, because I intended to get writing then but that didn’t work out.


The planning included putting together a master scene list, master character list, writing descriptions of characters and settings, writing a time line of important points even if they didn’t take part within the scope of the story itself… That kind of thing. And I think it really made a difference. It really helped me become more familiar with the story. I was pretty familiar with it anyway – it’s been living in my head in one form or another for several years – but this made it even more tangible.

Equally the plan hasn’t been that useful for the actual writing. I don’t look at it much. My master scene list has been glanced at occasionally and the only results of those looks is me realising I changed some orders and added some extras and…

I used to be prejudiced against planning, I admit. I felt like writing a plan was too constrictive. The story should be allowed to write itself, the characters allowed to grow. Plans were too rigid, and I was rebellious damnit!

Okay maybe I still feel that way a little. But I can still see the benefits of planning. The thing I need to remember is the plan doesn’t have to be set in stone. It’s flexible. It’s a framework. If I want to change things up, I can. If a character decides to kill another character even though that wasn’t in the plan then that’s okay. Or at least it was in this particular case seeing as the victim was going to die at some point anyway… But you know… Flexibility and all that.

I’m tired. I want to say mumbo jumbo for some reason but I’m not sure how to make it fit into this post. I guess I just did….

Okay so I’m going a bit of topic here…

My point was… Something about plans and flexibility.

Yes, that’s right. Plans are good. Flexibility is good.

The story can always change. Stories are alive. They breath and they dream and they walk away. People think that writers write stories and it’s as simple as that. In my experience it’s not that simple. It’s kinda the other way around, but saying that stories write writers doesn’t really make sense does it? I think my brain is addled…

Stories will write themselves, if you let them. And they’re often better for that freedom.

A story can be changed at any point. Like right now I’m half way through the novel-that-one-day-will-be. I went and reread some of the early parts and made some changes because it needed those changes. They were just small things. Scenes added, words tweaked. But big changes can be made too. For example, my read through gave me the impression that the writing was too passive. One of my previous attempts at writing this book (that didn’t get very far) was written in the first rather than third person. I think that may have been the right idea.

Which means once the book is finished the first “edit” of sorts will be to rewrite it in the first person.

Won’t that be fun and not at all time consuming?

Maybe I should have worked that out in the planning stages….

But let’s get NaNoWriMo finished first, right?


Lady Joyful

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? How is it going for your? Do you prefer to write with or without a plan, and why?


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