NaNoWriMo 2022 (aka Project Sagittarius): Day 30

Total word count: 7543

Despite two Thanksgiving dinners, sinusitis, a busier-than-usual work schedule, and other various personal issues, I reached the goal I set a few days in: 250 words a day, 7,500 words by the end of the month.


NaNoWriMo 2022: Days 21-25

Total word count: 6269

Thanksgiving week went about as expected, as I’ve been writing only in fits and starts. However, in contrast with the sprint-like pace of 1,667 words/day of a typical NaNoWriMo project, 250/day is easy to catch up with.

I’ve come around to a point-of-view a writer friend proposed, when I discussed my then-current NaNoWriMo project with her some years ago. To paraphrase, she preferred a slower pace, as inevitably you’d have to unstitch your NaNo draft, fix some frayed edges, replace pieces wholesale, or even change the pattern. A slower pace means easier course corrections.

A tangent. Although it’s more of a historical oddity now, 250 is the average number of words that would fit on a page formatted to manuscript guidelines common in the publishing industry: 12-point Courier font, double-spaced, 1-inch margins. I haven’t submitted to publishing houses in years, but when I last had some were beginning to loosen those guidelines, instead relying on counts generated by whatever word processor you used. (The official NaNoWriMo site always relied on the latter.)

Although I’m using a pageless document format, I’ve been writing a page a day on average.


NaNoWriMo 2022, Days 17-20

Total word count: 5078

I wrote on my tumblr that once you’ve started making character notes, you know a writing project has gotten serious. Well, dear reader, I began making them last night.

I don’t recall when, but for some prior project I began including reference pictures, usually of actors or actresses close to how I imagine each character to look. It’s a nice shorthand for imagining not only how a character looks, but what their voice sounds like, how they move, etc.

Despite having the week off, the next few days will actually be hardest: it’s Thanksgiving week in my part of the world, and I have two dinners planned (though only cooking for one of them). We’ll see how well my slow-but-deliberate 250/day pace pays off.


NaNoWriMo 2022: Days 11-16

Total word count: 4004

Getting this out a day later than I anticipated, as I was up late last night watching a long-delayed rocket launch.

You know what sucks? Blocking, by which I mean placing characters in a scene so that it makes sense. It was a chore when I had to keep blocking notes as a stage manager in college theater, and it still is even in a completely fictional world. Is Joe still at the oven cooking pasta, or has he gone to the front door? Mary was sitting on the porch, but on the next page it says June is.

It doesn’t matter much on first draft, but if you can keep enough of it straight the first time, it makes editing easier, and doesn’t feel like shuffling around chess pieces.


NaNoWriMo 2022: Days 6-10

Total word count: 2509

Ah, the benefits of the tortoise pace.

Writing at 250 words/day is giving me the time to properly develop two parallel cultures, as seen through my two POV characters. Much of the fun of writing, at least in my experience, is uncovering all these little fossils and artifacts that you never planned for (to borrow Stephen King’s allegory of the dinosaur skeleton).

Eventually, I’ll need to keep track of all these world building artifacts — character names, places, etc. I can write characters sheets et al. in parallel with the manuscript itself, so if I have to create a character on-the-fly, I’ll have the time to make them a character bio after hitting my word count.

It feels odd to be at what would normally be Day 2 of a typical NaNoWriMo sprint. But it’s been better sailing this year than the past three or four. I’ll take it.


NaNoWriMo 2022: Days 1-5

Current word count: 1502.

It only took two days for me to realize that I needed National Novel Writing Month to be Personal Novel Writing Year.

To my relief and astonishment, the words are flowing just fine. My pre-writing notes are yielding enough “sourdough starter,” as it were, to keep baking. However, my time is just a bit more fragmented than I had anticipated at the start. I can usually piece together enough time for about 250 words per day, but getting enough for 1667 words per day is impossible on most days.

However: writing 250 words per day, over 365 days, nets 91,250 words. That’s a nice-sized novel.

So the train keeps rolling.


NaNoWriMo 2022: Surprise!

Against my better judgment, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, after a years-old absence. For 2022, I’m playing using close-to-classic rules: a new idea (meaning not a continuation of a partial manuscript or rewrite), with minimal notes prior to Day 1.

This is by choice. I have at least two (maybe three) partial novels I could work on, but two of them, written during some rough personal drama, don’t sit right with me. The third is much more optimistic, but I’m not yet in the right headspace to return to that story.

I have no expectations of hitting 50K by November 30. My words are flowing better than they were last year, when I was straining to get to 250 words in a day, but my time and attention are fragmented this month. (“Just too much life going on” sounds like some privileged whining on my part, but that’s essentially it.)

I’ll post updates here every five days.

Day 1 total: 502 words.


NaNoWriMo 2019, Day 4

Total words written: 1,034.

It’s, uh, not a great start, but it is a start, nonetheless.

I haven’t scheduled my time well this week. I was socializing all Friday evening, then was out all of Saturday. I had some time Sunday morning, but didn’t take advantage of it. I’ve been getting words in here and there.

Hopefully I can gain some momentum this week, as I have nothing planned for the next few days. The challenges this year are different than last — this time around, it’s a matter of maintaining emotional engagement rather than time management. At least, that’s what I thought until I actually started writing this year.



NaNoWriMo 2019 Prep: Loose Ends

I’m wrapping up my revisions to the existing draft of Field of Shards. Other than some scene rewrites in the first chapter, it’s been smooth sailing.

I noticed a very Hemingway-esque trick at the bottom of my manuscript: leaving a sentence unfinished as a prompt to continue writing. I recall doing that a bit last year, sometimes out of exhaustion, having finished my writing quota and not wanting to keep going. It sorta works — there’s a compulsion to finish the sentence, sure, but afterwards is harder when you’re drowning in the tar pit of writer’s block.

I have a few other character bits to add before I start writing anew on Friday: better descriptions, a few names to add, and an entirely new bit character to fill a gap caused by my one big character change from the existing manuscript. Nothing that would stop me from starting, but good to take care of while I can.

As for official NaNoWriMo meetups this year? I’m not sure. I need to see what my schedule is like, and I’d rather not drive across the bay to St. Pete or Clearwater on a weekday afternoon. More than likely, I’ll just keep in touch online.


NaNoWriMo 2019: The Preppening

As November 1st approaches, I’ve begun preparing for this year’s marathon of words. Read on for the details.

This Year’s Project: Continue working on Field of Shards

Although I eventually stalled out at ~17K words, Field of Shards had a great start last year. I’ve learned from NaNos past that you should never start a new project if there’s one you’d rather be doing, and this story’s pretty decent, if I may be conceited for a moment.