Nanowrimo Update 4

Here’s a bit of almost exciting news for this update: barring a massive change in my schedule, I will easily achieve the 50,000 words threshold today.

I say almost exciting because while the official point of Nanowrimo is of course to get to 50,000 words in a month, you all know I’ve set my sights on finishing the book itself in that time period. So the next logical question is, “How are you coming on that?”

The answer is, I’m not sure. I can say that I’ve moved the plot along at speeds I’ve previously never even considered for a novel. I don’t mean the speed with which I type down the words, I mean the narrative is moving from one scene to another and then another in less time than I’ve ever given to a novel. So much so that at times it feels a little strained. I can’t say for certain because I don’t read a first draft as I’m writing it. Therefore it may flow better than I think it does. It may turn out to be a good thing that I’ve not been able to write the flourishes and character moments in as much detail as I am used to. At least for a mystery it may be a good thing. Maybe this is how mysteries are supposed to progress, but the feeling of wearing someone else’s shoes is still there for now.

And with six writing days remaining, will I be able to complete even a basic plot by way of this leaner, more rapid prose style? That’s the real question, isn’t it? The answer to this one is also I’m not sure. I think I’ve had a few chapters where one person appears to be the killer, only to have that doubted eventually. I’ve eliminated one or two other suspects, and I’ve now called attention to some of the clues I’ve been leaving all along. Next up, I plan to have the facts point (shockingly) to someone else,  and have enough time to have a small twist about that someone revealed in the end. In other words, I’ve covered a lot, and still have a lot to cover in the next week.

To tell you the truth I think I’ll really have to put my shoulder into it in order to do so. Whereas getting to the word count requires just straight up dedication each day to writing, finishing the story requires paying attention to specific touchstones, and make sure each of them are reached in a logical manner. A lot more to cover there.

Yet before I sit down to each writing session, I have a list of plot worries. I’ve found that at least one of them changes or vanishes by the time I’m halfway through said session. I’ve still got a lot of holes that need to be filled, but I’ve filled more by this point than I thought I would, as well. These last few days are crucial, though. I have a lot of tying up to do in order to properly reveal the killer, without just pulling a sheet off of them and saying, “bingo, mystery over.” I don’t want to fall into the trap of making it too tidy, but I want readers to have a chance to see things and figure it out themselves, as well. Without it being too easy of course.

Yet I must avoid getting too worked up about it, and I have come close to doing so a few times now, especially in the last week. My goal was to finish the first draft of a plot all within November. To do so without cheating and without tricks, and to have fun in the process. Despite some quick jumps, I don’t in my heart believe I’ve resorted to tricks, nor do I intend to. And it has been a mostly fun experience–writing in a new genre and bestowing Nanowrimo with some extra expectations this year, so I really should see it as a success regardless.

But I really want to finish the story in a decent way within the next week. But if not, that is its own reward…the attempt. This was never supposed to be one of my “official” novels anyway, so I shouldn’t give it that level of criticism either. Though if I am close to finishing the plot when time runs out, and I feel there is something solid there, I will probably keep writing into December, so I cam say I wrote a mystery. And who knows, I may even make it an “official” novel if it turns out to be more solid, or at least more fixable than I anticipated. Maybe if there’s time I’ll self-publish it under a pseudonym someday…

I think writing for plot once I get passed the 50,000 today will get easier, though. At that point I can say I’ve at least achieved the technical goal of Nanowrimo. After that, I can relax and just write what needs to be written for the remaining days.

As for what I’ve physically accomplished in the last week, I went to the next-to-last write in at the library. Unfortunately that one was not well attended, compared to the first two; only three people, including myself and the moderator showed up. On top of that, for whatever reason, it was my most difficult write-in session. For whatever reason the words just weren’t flowing that day. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say the plot was just not flowing that day. It felt like I was dragging the book along in order to get to another serviceable plot point. I did get my quota for the day written, however.

Last week I also took my laptop to the local branch of the library to work some of the novel by myself. This is significant in that I’ve never done it before. I never thought I’d be able to set my mind to it. And though, like the write-ins I didn’t write as fast as I do at home sometimes, I did accomplish my quota by myself writing at the library. The write-ins gave me to comfort level to try writing in public, and I confirmed my ability to do so. If nothing else, I’ve learned I can do that sometimes. That could prove useful for future projects.

Also in the last week I had both writing sessions that covered less than my quota for the day, and more than my quota. One or two days I only got 500 or so words out. More than once I got over 2,000, and in one I got 3,000. That day I had two writing sessions, one in the day and one in the evening-the only time I’ve done that this year. It will probably be the highest single word count for one day for me this year.

However you slice it, it’s almost over now. I’ve not yet skipped a single day of writing, and I think most years I skipped at least one by now. With Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday, I may make that my one and only skip day, depending on how I feel.

Next Monday is December. (Scary, right?) I’ll post a final wrap up of my Nanowrimo 2013 experience then. Until then, see if you can bare the suspense of wondering if I can finish the book in time!




  1. Addendum: I reached the official 50,000 word mark, and then some, about 15 minutes ago. The race is on to complete the plot.

  2. I hope you get to finish it! 🙂 Eek, only six days left. If you don’t, though, there’s always NaNoCember, which as I’m sure you know is a sort of “finish your 50k/edit what you already wrote/just finish the novel” month.

    I don’t think I’ll finish my wip this month, though I do hold out the very slim hope of getting to 50k. I’m still stuck in 35k land right now. I’m measuring my success by how much better I did this year than last year. Though I’ve become annoyed with the NaNo website itself, since I’m experiencing a lot of technical difficulties with the forums.

    I relate to what you mean about having to write differently or leaner, or plot differently. NaNo has forced me to change my usual process a little as well. I’ve gotten a lot out of it, so I can’t complain, but still…

    • Thanks! It’s going to be close, like I said, but I will at least get another good portion done, and who knows? I will probably finish it in December, regardless. It feels close enough that I wouldn’t need any more than a few extra days to finish it.

      Good luck with your word count as well!

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