Nanowrimo Update IV

The final week of Nanowrimo is upon us all. As is this, my next update on my progress.

As of last night I have just over 5,000 words to go. I’m projected at this pace to get to 50K by Thursday. There is something weird going on with that though, because last night it had be projected to do it by tomorrow. The projections keep changing. I need to start paying attention to my own count instead, so i don’t miss the deadline. That would be quite annoying.

I had wanted to finish early, and I still might. But I need to remember the point is to finish it, not finish it early. Computers aside, I feel confident in my own projection that I will once again get to 50K words in the 30 day period, so long as I keep up this pace. I’m not Nate Silver, but I think I have a pretty good grasp on where this is going.

Mostly I am in better shape than I was a week ago when I wrote my previous update. A day or two before I left for my sister’s house to spend Thanksgiving, I doctored the remaining parts of the pre-existing outline somewhat. I did that for two reasons. First, I wasn’t sure the outline contained enough material to cover 50K words. I would have been all right with winging-it a bit, (we call it “pantsing”), but my preference was to not have to do that. I may still have to, but I feel it is not more likely I will have material to carry me through the first 50K words.

Not that I added a whole lot, really. I just shifted a few things, and expanded the scope of a scene or two.

The second reason I did so was to address some of the holes and gaps I found forming. I talked about hose here on the blog in previous updates as well. This concern, though not 100% eliminated by the outline surgery has been, to this point, addressed in a satisfactory manner. Enough to get me through Nano, after which I can take a bit more time moving forward.

I still have a fear that I am leaving certain holes. Unlike the first draft process of my last novel I find myself worrying about pacing. One day I will think I am moving through the action too fast, and the very next day I will be concerned that I am spending too much time on something, and slowing things up. I’m not getting the out and out satisfaction of completed the first draft in the same way I did my last novel. Nano might have something to do with that. Experience may have more. I can’t decide, and I know in the end it doesn’t matter. I remain committed to not editing the first draft in any substantial way until it in completed. I must not abandon that approach, or my writing is done for.

Currently, I’m in the middle of an action scene. There will be more of those in this novel than in my last. Frankly, i don’t know what I think of them. I don’t like getting bogged down in details of who stood where when this fell, and how Jane’s shoulder is oriented to Steven’s foot when she tackled him, and so on. I can do it…if I spend five times longer on considering the scene than I normally would. I just don’t usually feel that is a good use of my creative time and energy. This book is not suspense. At least it isn’t intended to be. I’m not sure of the genre, but probably urban fantasy. In either case, certain plot elements require these action scenes.

I’m tempted to write, “Jane was injured several times in a heated altercation with Steven. He had a knife, she did not. Yet somehow he was the one unconscious by the end of it.” But I guess I can’t do that for action scenes. Actually, perhaps I can…in editing. But in this first draft, i feel obligated to set those scenes in detail. And in the pace of Nanowrimo, I know those details are getting skipped. It’s one thing to know your first draft is always lousy. It’s another to know you are intentionally tanking something a bit just to get through it.

I will say that actions scenes do eat up words quickly in the Nano setting. They are just words I don’t usually enjoy writing, and I am in the thick of one now. Probably at least one more before Nano is over. They will be much easier to deal with once I am writing at a non-Nano pace, I’m sure.

But I don’t want to get too bogged down in the actual writing technique of the finished piece. Like I said, I can’t start picking apart a first draft in any event. So as for Nano, I have just over 5,000 words left. I’m ahead of the pace, but I can’t afford to be distracted any further. I can’t miss any more single days remaining. I can only do so much writing in one session and only so many sessions per day.

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