NaNoWriMo Update

In case you missed it on Facebook and Twitter, I decided last week to join up with NaNoWriMo and give it a shot. 2,000 words a day is really a stretch for me, especially when Denisa is working and all the rest of life seems to be in constant chaos, but I’ve always liked the concept, and I’ve liked hearing about other people’s efforts to do it in the past. Since I had a basic idea for a story kicking around in my head (well, it just came to me October 25th or so), I figured I might as well go for it. I’d already written 7,000 words of the book before November 1st, but I’m not counting those toward the overall goal of 50,000 words by the end of November. (The trick, of course, is that I don’t know how long this book will end up being. If it ends up being shorter than 57,000 words, I’ll work on my Christmas newsletter in the leftover time.)

So how is it going?

Some things about it have made writing easier for me. I love the fact that I can go online and check other people’s writing progress. I’m buddies with 10 people (not all of which are actually working on a book. I’m looking at you, Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and Isaac Stewart. (Well, I realize you’re not using the site actively, but when I saw you were on there as users, how could I resist? And come to think of it, I’d really rather you and Dan not post your word totals, Brandon. Let me have the illusion that I’m writing quickly, please.) It makes writing feel like much less of a solitary thing, and it taps into my competitive nature. (Megan Grey’s almost to 10,000 words, eh? Not before I get there first!) I know this is silly–I’ve been writing every day for more than a decade. There’s nothing I need to prove to anyone about my writing speed or my stick-to-itiveness. And yet it’s a race.

And I want to win.

It’s also very helpful to me to be able to just plug in my word totals every day and see them get bigger and bigger. The OCD in me loves filling out charts. Adores it. I find myself taking breaks in my writing just so I can go update my word count total on Again, I realize it’s silly. But if it gets me writing and keeps me motivated, than whatever works.

But the fact is that 2,000 words a day is pushing me harder than I thought it would. I’m having to squeeze extra writing into all sorts of nooks and crannies I didn’t know I had, and it’s certainly adding to the my stress levels. Is that wise? Probably not. But I’m going to keep doing it, because it feels great to see how fast I’m going. I just cracked the 10,000 word mark today (17,000 words total on the book), and I haven’t even been writing for two weeks. Woohoo!

Could I do this every day? Very doubtful. Number one, I just don’t have the time. Number two, it’s not every day that I have an idea like this fall into my lap. The characters have been writing themselves, the plot is just unfurling as I write. This feels very much like the exception, not the rule.

So what am I writing about? For long time readers, it’s a Peter Pan adaptation in the same vein as ICHABOD was an adaptation of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. A boy gets sucked into a copy of Peter Pan and has to find the exit before the entire book dissolves. But naturally it’s not that easy. Pirates and Lost Boys show up and complicate matters. Honestly, I don’t think it gets summed up in a way that does it justice. It’s been a blast to write, and at the end of the day, that seems perfect for this exercise. To further complicate matters, I’m writing in third person for the first time in . . . eight years? Nine years? Something like that. Since CAVERN OF BABEL, at least. I’ve been meaning to give it another shot at some point, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

Sheesh–this project is sounding more and more like a Frankenstein monster the more I describe it. Good thing I’m enjoying the process, stress and all. Will I be able to publish it? That’s not something I can afford to consider as I write this. I’m focused on fun and speed, and the rest will have to worry about itself later. I’ll have to see what my writing group (and my agents) think of it, but the good news is that it’ll be done by the end of the month, and I’ve got nothing better to write at the moment. (I’m waiting for revision notes on THE MEMORY THIEF sometime this month or next, and my agents are reading OUR LADY at the moment, so that work is on pause, as well.)

In any case, I hope I can keep it up. I normally try to finish writing and revising one book a year, but if this experiment works out well, I might be able to do more than that in the future. We’ll see.

So keep going, all you crazy NaNoWriMo-ers out there! Want to be my buddy? (That sounds so corny!) Go here and add me. Let’s see those word totals racking up. Write like the wind!

But don’t write faster than me. You’ll give me a complex.

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