Week 4 of #NaNoWriMo2016

The month seems to have flown by and the end of NaNoWriMo is waiting just around the corner. I’ve just re-read my last post and wanted to update my reflections on how it’s going as I can see that my mood and feelings have changed quite a lot as the days go by…

  • I’m going to miss it. It’s been so much fun! I’ve loved the challenge, the having to just bloody get on with it, however you’re feeling or no matter how little time there is. I’m not sure I can maintain quite the same level of motivation once it’s over, but it has shown me, quite clearly, how much I can write in a week if I put my mind to carving out the time.
  • I got to the end too fast – I’ve been spending the last 5 days or so just adding bits and bobs, worrying at the edges. I can see where it needs bits padding out but at this point it’s quite hard to work over what I’ve written in any meaningful way so I’m just splurging extra bits out to be fitted in later. This isn’t ideal.
  • I took the time yesterday to re-read the whole thing. Even though, as I said in the last post, the writing is Not Good, I really enjoyed it! This was a huge relief as I had days where I just questioned the whole thing. I think it’s got a future and I need to commit fully to working it over and over to make it better.
  • Some of the characters have surprised me by coming to life in a really good way. There’s a couple I’m really fond of which I would not have predicted at the start. Unfortunately I’m still needing to do more thinking on some major ones but I don’t think that will change the story fundamentally.
  • I started in 1st person and very quickly reverted to my more familiar 3rd person limited. However when I read it back I actually found the 1st person much more fun and engaging. This really surprised me as I remember so clearly feeling it absolutely wasn’t working. So there’s more work to do, perhaps trying to rewrite a couple of key chapters in 1st person and see how that goes.
  • I need to go back to Orkney! That’s where it’s set. Even though I’ve made a few trips there and feel like I know it quite well, you can’t beat actually being in a place for authenticity. Just have to convince my family…

Tomorrow I’m going to print out the whole thing and see how it looks on paper. I’m currently at 44,189 tonight so I’m feeling confident I’m going to do it this year! Picture me standing beating my chest on top of my laptop, it’s gonna happen…



How’s #nanowrimo2016 going?


10 days into NaNoWriMo and my word count is doing well (23k and counting) but what’s the real story? Here are my 10 observations on NaNoWriMo so far…

  1. The word count isn’t the problem. Even on the days when I only have about an hour at most, I can churn out enough words. I had a plan for my novel so each scene has rough notes. This is enough to keep me powering through a writing session. The planning worked well for me.
  2. I have never written such terrible writing! I’m going with the concept and just writing and writing but that’s not how I do it best. I write a splurge then need to go back immediately and edit and edit to get it into something decent. A bit like a sculptor hacking off a block and then doing some fine tuning. I’m not going back over anything yet and it’s absolute drivel. Not drivel in the sense that things aren’t happening and the plot isn’t moving in the right direction, but absolutely abysmal writing.
  3. I’m missing stuff out. Although I have quite good notes to work from, I’m skipping important things and moments.
  4. I didn’t do enough work on my characters before I started – I think a lot of the issues I’m feeling are around the fact that I don’t have quite the right voice for my main character, nor the male lead / romantic interest. They aren’t awful, just not quite right yet.
  5. Writing in a linear way doesn’t work so well for me. For my previous novel I started writing key scenes and then joined them up. This time I have started at the beginning and am writing to the end. It just doesn’t work so well for me but it’s been useful to experiment.
  6. I’m worried that I’m writing the heart out of my novel. I had a really good concept of what I wanted it to be like and was happy with the plot. Now I feel like it’s deflated into a pile of nothingness but I think that relates a lot to (2) and the quality of my writing.
  7. I am, at Day 10, full of self doubt and the pointlessness of what I’m doing. You can probably tell!
  8. I’m still committed to it. I’m not a quitter. You will see me hit that word count.
  9. I’m on course to get to 50k well before the end of the month so that will be my cue to stop and take stock and try to kick some shape into the monster I’ve created.
  10. If I look deep into my heart, I still believe in the story I’m writing. I believe it should be told, I believe I’d like to read it if I can ever get it to reflect my aspirations for it. At least I’ve started.

How’s it working out for you?