NaNoWriMo: On slogs and breakthroughs

Last week was slow going in NaNoWriMo land for me. I had finished my main arc at about 34,000 words, and then had to go back to the beginning.  The plan is to thread in a few key subplots and add sensory details.  It’s a fine plan. A very fine plan, even.

What the plan didn’t account for was:

  1. When I’m reading as well as writing, my wordcount grows at a fraction of the speed that it does when I’m generating fresh stuff.
  2. When I’m reading, I am also letting the editor slip out of her containment unit. Cue self-doubt.
  3. (Let’s not forget her containment unit has been unlocked due to doing more critiques for other writers.)
  4. The difference between a fun story and a good one.

I’ve gotten around the first three by opening new scene files and padding in the subplot scenes as separate entities. I’ll thread them into the whole piece later. I’ve pinned them where they need to be tacked on.  This means I’m drafting more and writing less. This helps. It’s how I made it to 1667 on the  21st.  I’ve been squeaking along with a couple hundred words, and eating up my padding the rest of the time.

Then, I went for a walk in the woods.

It wasn’t a long walk, only about an hour. They weren’t big woods. But there was a good breeze, pretty autumn leaves to look at, and I wandered by myself for a while.

By the time I got back to the car, I remembered the difference between what makes a story fun to read and what makes a great story: Authenticity.  I wasn’t putting any of my heart in this project. I wasn’t adding any fear, though there were plenty of opportunities to do so.  I was letting these characters blithely interact without heart.

The project just got scarier. But I think it got better, too. Plus, with a little authenticity, the slogging stopped and the words started to flow all over again.

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3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: On slogs and breakthroughs

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Update: it’s wrap up day! | The Claire Violet Thorpe Express

  2. Pingback: NaNoWriMo WIN, and how I did it | Crissi Langwell ~ Author

  3. Pingback: On giving up NaNoWriMo – and finishing something else instead! | Daniel Jaeger

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