While I’m not throwing in the towel on the novel, I’m still over a thousand words shy of the ShaNaNa halfway point, and I’m running up against the Thanksgiving holidays—during which I’ll be driving to Oregon and back to visit tugrik’s family. I’ll be bringing the laptop with me because in the final analysis I am a nerd, but I don’t expect to bang out another 10,000 words in the next six days, let alone another 26,000. (I’m sure stranger things have happened, but even so.)
This isn’t a note of despair. Yeah, I hope I manage to get 30-35,000 words written by November 30th. But I hope I get another 30,000 or so written by December 31st.
So, I&8317;ve averaged about a thousand words a day. This may drop in the next few days, granted, but we’ll see. I’ve gotten a little better at just sitting down and writing something no matter how crappy it is. I don’t want to write crap, obviously (and dear lord, will this novel need a lot of work assuming it gets finished), but my modus operandi in the past has all too often been a refusal to write anything I can immediately tell isn’t my best at the time. I’ve always been able to bang out a couple thousand words a day—when and only when I have the character and the story and the scene in place, all the little mental ducks lined up just so.
Along the way this time, though, I’ve started doing the equivalent of what a lot of writing books will tell you—writing scenes down on index cards and trying to arrange them into the structure. I’m using an outliner for it, not index cards, of course, but the principle is the same. The pressure of the deadline, no matter how artificial, has helped me to learn to write drafts of those scenes out of order. (I can actually write those scenes as “notes” in the outliner itself.) This is good, although it’s a little intimidating, too.
My best guess is that I’m at least three dozen scenes short of what the novel needs, although that’s a really rough number. If that number’s correct, it also means that this is a 70-80,000 word novel.
I don’t know if I mentioned that this novel concept was probably too ambitious to use for NaNoWriMo. I didn’t? Oh. Well, this novel concept was probably too ambitious to use for NaNoWriMo. I knew that going in, though. Hearing some of the folks who’ve gone to write-ins I’ve attended talk just reinforced that; these are people who are doing this for the challenge, not because they’re under any illusions they’re writing for publication.
Am I under that illusion? Well, we’ll see when I get through the first draft and decide if it’s worth doing a second draft.