NaNo Notes


Well, unless a major earthquake strikes the Colorado Rockies — hey, it could happen — before Sunday, it looks like I’ll be winning NaNoWriMo 2008. Yay, me!

I’m at 41,855 now, which puts me slightly ahead of where I technically need to be to be considered up to date. I’m finding it harder to write the last 20 or so pages, mostly because I’ve gotten to the real heart of the story. I know, I know, I’m at page 377 (seriously), and I’m just now getting to the heart of the story? I’m reminded of how difficult a subject this was for me to pursue in graduate school, not intellectually but emotionally. It’s a visceral reaction to even just think of this issue, and here I am coming back to it nine years later. Isn’t that bizarre? There must be a reason why I’m so compelled to write about this, even though it’s such a painful story, but for now I’m just slogging through.

I don’t think I’ll finish the novel at 50k (at the moment I think I’m at 141k or so in total, which puts me on track to surpass the New Testament sometime mid-December at this rate), but I’m anxious to have at least the first draft banged out before Christmas. My initial goal, of course, was that I finish the first draft by summer of 2007, but ah, that obviously didn’t happen.

I probably will take a couple of weeks off at Christmas, then plunge back into it first thing in 2009 to do some serious editing. Serious, as in, I want this baby to clock in at no more than 100,000 max. I already know that at least two of my characters have changed significantly halfway through the text, and even the reason my protagonist is where he is has changed, so reconciling the glaring contradictions will be Job One. That process alone will probably cut at least 30,000 words, easy.

I read a bit of Bridge Over the River Kwai (the original novel) a few weeks ago and was struck by the simplicity of the language. It wasn’t Shakespeare, but it’s impressive literature. I think that my first-time-novelist status has rendered me incapable of using simple, expressive sentences, rather than annoying logorrhea. Hopefully the editing will cure me of that awful habit.

3 thoughts on “NaNo Notes

  1. Wow, what an accomplishment! I guess you don’t self-edit along the way…which is probably a better process.I’m not sure I could really write a book because my inner editor would always be holding me back…sigh.

  2. Dear <>Betty<>, a friend of mine is a NYTimes bestselling author who trained as a poet and writes her novels the old-fashioned way, i.e., editing painstakingly along the way. I asked her if she'd ever tried the NaNoWriMo method before, and she said that while she wishes she did have the ability to do it, her temperament just won't allow her. I love the freedom of turning off the inner editor. I'm a really bad perfectionist in everything else in my life, so it's quite liberating to just write and let the creative part of me take over. Have you tried doing something like NaNoWriMo? Surprisingly, it's really not as bad as it sounds. I try and have bowlfuls of Cracklin' Oat Bran or M&M's within arm's reach to get me through it. I know, not very French, but hey, it works for me. 😉Cheers,Marjorie

  3. Well, is NaNoWriMo always November? I would have to do that in a late spring or summer month, I think. I just don’t have enough energy in the winter when I have a heavy working schedule.

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