Here I sit on NaNoWriMo Eve (National Novel Writing Month Eve), sometimes referred to as Hallowe’en, and I’m scared that I can’t cough up 50 000 words in 30 days in November.
Wait, a long time reader might ask, didn’t you succeed at this challenge last year? I believe there’s a December post with a winner’s badge.
Well last year I did something different than NaNoWriMo asks. Instead of doing a novel, I succeeded at writing 50 000 words of short stories and 1 novella in the 30 days. Oh this is tough all on its own. Even though I knew the basis of all the stories before I started, that first day of a new story, when you have to pull your head out of the last story and fixate on the new one to the tune of 1667 words, is really tough. Just as I’m not sure a normal NaNoWriMo winner could do this, I’m not sure I can do 50 000 words of a novel in this month of November.
Although I’ve regularly written for years, I have never finished a novel. Under any circumstances. I’ve started one thrice. Once I got 1/3 done and twice I’ve done an outline. That first outline I was afraid to start filling in because I thought this was the basis for a really great novel. I am over that initial rush of pride. If I were to write that piece there are too many huge gaps I can’t cross because the outline is really barebones and I have stories to write that I can get a better handle on. Maybe someday I’ll do it. That second outline was for a novel writing class so I finished some chapters, too (also necessary for the class). Once the class was over I ran out of steam. Partly I wanted something pristine to work with for class so I had hurriedly thought it up. The setup wasn’t my best.
From that novel writing class I am well aware of the second act slump. With my largest complete story being two different novellas, I haven’t written enough for that to ever become a problem. If I do encounter it I have no experience. But I do have tips that I don’t remember but should be in my notes. Maybe I can handle this.
The second thing I’m worried about is losing track of the biggest plot I’ve ever done. My sister (Laurel L. Russwurm, Author), told me to write an outline to avoid this problem. I haven’t as yet, but when I dreamt of this project I dreamt of many scenes that should string together with the plot. At this time it’s too late to write an outline in the 4 hours before NaNoWriMo starts. So the outline in my head will have to do. Having some feel for the length of things by the amount of writing I have done in the past, I think this first draft will just go over the 50 000 words so maybe I do have enough contained in my head.If not, I can start outlining on the fly and be even more antisocial in November. Which brings me to my third fear…
This story might not allow me to finish NaNoWriMo because it might be less than 50 000 words. If that is the case, I have promised myself I can add a subplot or two. Mixing it in seamlessly might have to wait for the edits. If that fails I can try going over my many years of sf ideas I’ve written down but never used. This might also build up more story.
So NaNoWriMo Eve, to the invested, can become the scariest night of the year. BOO!