My first and only attempt at National Novel Writing Month was four years ago, when my first son was just two months old. I only made it to 25,000 words before all I could think of to do with my characters was kill them off. And it wasn’t the kind of book in which you’d expect anything like that to happen.
This year, I’m finding a bunch of different reasons to give it another shot, the main one being: I want to figure out where this novel I’m working on is going!
So I’m cheating a little bit. I’m continuing a work in progress, and have set myself a lesser goal of 33,750 words. My count was calculated by the number of sessions I expect to complete and the number of words I have proven I can put together in that duration.
There’s a part of me that’s hoping I’ll exceed expectations and make it to 50K, but I have to hold that piece at bay. The objective needs to be to get the words on the page to figure out what’s next. I’d be happy if, at the end of the month, I simply had a real, workable outline of the full novel—even if it means throwing out the majority of the pages I’ll produce. I mean, a real, workable manuscript would be better, but again, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Because I’ve set my expectations realistically, I’m getting really psyched for the month to begin. I have an “in theory” calendar and an “in practice” calendar printed and annotated to mark my progress. I also have a week’s worth of prompts to get me started (I expect to do an hour and a half of free writing each night, not necessarily in the order of a narrative arc). My workspace is clear and waiting. Now all that awaits is the clock striking midnight.
Or the clock striking noon. There’s something romantic about starting at midnight, but I’m not sure it’s enough to make me do it!
Stay tuned for what I hope to be shorter, but more frequent posts with word counts.
Are you embarking on the NaNoWriMo challenge as well? Let’s be buddies! Find me as 34Kforthewin. Good luck!