Coming Up for Air

DSC01869I’ve been hard at work on Stinging Power, this year’s NaNo novel. So hard at work that I completely forgot about blogging. My mind was lost in the desert of Otrechia, it seems. Oops! That’s what you get for trying to focus and concentrate. Other stuff just gets forgotten.

So far, NaNo this year has been the easiest writing, when compared to the last two years. Which surprised me, since I did much more prep work last year.

What prep work I did was well worth it, like my outline. It’s beyond me (no offense to the pantsers) how anyone can write a novel without at least a simple outline. Mine gives me a sense of where the story is going, and saves me time. I don’t have to think up a scene each time I start one.

My world building notes made the writing more efficient. I’ve got lists of potential character names already created. So when a new character walks onto the stage, I can come up with a name for him or her quickly.

This is especially important, because before I started writing, I had only identified about ten characters. Now that I’m past the halfway point, I’ve added at least fifteen more. Most of these have minor roles in the story, but they do play a part in developing the plot. Being able to name them helps bring them to life.

The other thing I’ve done was set myself a goal of 3000 words a day, for the days that I had time to write. I did this because I knew I’d be doing a lot of traveling this month. Some days would simply be impossible to find writing time.

I’m glad I got myself ahead of par early on. I lost two days last weekend because of a funeral we needed to attend. Now I’m charging on for the finish, hoping to get within 5000 words of the goal of 50,000 by the end of the day Monday. Between the Thanksgiving holiday and the anticipated birth of a grandson, I’m not optimistic about the time I’ll have to write next week.

It’s also clear to me that this draft will top 60,000 words. Of course, the final work will be much longer. My first drafts tend to be underwritten, full of mostly action and dialogue and very little setting and emotion. I’ll add those elements when I get to editing.

My plan, once I hit 50,000, is to scale back to 1000 a day. This will give me time to catch up on other projects, put some thought into what we’re doing for the holidays, and, if all goes well, hold my new grandson.

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