Nanowrimo Update 1

I’ll only be doing these on Mondays unless something major happens, so don’t worry about being flooded with Nano thoughts all month.

Of course, Nano only just started on Friday. I’m happy to report that I have kept pace with my word count each day, and am in fact a bit ahead of the game. That, however, is not unusual for the first week or so. introductory chapters tend to go quickly, and allow for more word usage per session. Meet up with me again a week from now, and see how my pace is then.

Perhaps the main victory of the first few days of this attempt is that all of my main characters have been introduced already. I managed that in less than 5000 words. From the beginning I knew I’d have to be more efficient about such things in order to get a mystery off the ground, and I’ve stuck to that. I won’t say I introduced all of them in a unique way. I used a tried a true method in most cases. But baby steps. Everybody is present and accounted for early. I’m pleased with that.

I’ve also, if I may say so myself, established some degree of the relationships between several of the characters. The scene I am currently working on should allow for more such things, but I’m at least off to the races in that regard. I’ve also foreshadowed the location of the murder. Perhaps too clearly, and perhaps not, but Nano is no time to worry about such things as they happen.

Also, my plan to have the murder take place at roughly the ten thousand word mark seems for the moment, feasible. I’m not there yet, but I think I can get there in a few more thousand words. So far so good.

I must admit,however, the speed with which I’m establishing everything so far is making me a bit nervous. Two reasons for that, and they are in a sense opposing reasons. First, I am nervous about getting to the meat of something so quickly without exploring certain things first. In my long fiction I tend to linger in certain places near the opening of a piece, but I don’t have the luxury to do as much of that here. So I’m hitting some important notes early, but I wonder if I’m cutting things too quick sometimes.

The second reason I’m nervous is, like I said, somewhat the opposite; I fear by moving so fast, I’m adding extraneous words in places just to make sure I am not leaving out anything in my speed. Sounds like a paradox, I know. But trust me, I can be both concerned about not giving enough, and yet using too many words. For words have an economy all on their own, and one can spend a million of them saying nothing at all. I don’t think I’m doing that, but I wonder.

Yet I cannot stop and wonder. I must move on. Already I can tell that this new take on Nano that I’ve adopted this year is making the experience feel different. Nano has never really stressed me per se, but I am with this one a bit. Can I work out such a detail-oriented story as a mystery in the time and space I have? Was it an error to go with this genre for this exercise? Can I just plow through and finish because that is the whole point of Nano? Can I ever get over the fact that this is not one of my official novels, and just have fun with the thing?

So many questions after just a few days of Nano. Few answers.

Another big question is about tomorrow night. For the first time in my Nano history, I will be participating in a write-in. A group of local writers is getting together at the local library for a few hours to work on our Nano novels. Writing under “pressure” as it were. Not only have I never done Nano in public, in front of people before, I have never written anything in public in front of people before. Everything I write, fiction or non-fiction has been written at home, or at family homes. So another question will be, can I accomplish any kind of serious writing in front of other people, in a public setting, on a lap top I only use once in a while?

I wanted Nano this year to be a different kind of challenge for me, and so far it has been, on multiple fronts. Some mental resistance is inevitable, but I’m not quitting. I just sometimes wonder if I made too many new things too soon.

But I guess that’s how we learn. Sometimes, anyway.


  1. Doing NaNo updates sounds like a good idea! I’m glad you introduced all your characters early. That saves a lot of trouble (trouble that I am currently trying to deal with as I introduce a lot more people). Then again, I’m not writing a mystery. For stories that have more structure like that, it seems like extensive planning and careful writing is necessary. Best of luck!

    • Thanks, and good luck to you as well. (I see you are making decent progress, judging by the status line on your profile over at Nano.)

      I figured I had to introduce everyone early in this piece, (not my specialty) so I could get into the plot ASAP. In theory, extensive planning is best for something like this, though I’d be lying if I said all of my planning was extensive. (And that makes me a tad nervous.) But, like said above, the point is for it to be a challenge. (And to remember not to be a perfectionist. Another lesson I have to relearn every time it seem.)

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