During Week 2 of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I completed 16,244 words. Added to my progress from last week, I have a total of 30,825 words toward my 50,000-word goal. I edited out an additional 489 words from the original 12,187-word document that I started with (from 2018), for a grand total of 42,456 words completed on my novel.
Take-Aways from Week 2
- Create an Excel Spreadsheet to track scenes by placing them in chronological order with word count, active characters, and novel conventions (inciting incidents, plot points, “dark night of the soul,” etc.) when applicable. This will be valuable for future use when organizing the novel into chapters and for web novel serialization. It also helps in deciding where new scenes will best fit in the existing structure of the novel.
- Write the “good stuff” that excites and inspires me to write on that given day or writing session even if it is out of chronological order. Don’t stress about staying in order. The big scenes will dictate and bring to life lesser/smaller scenes that come before and after these pivotal scenes.
- Write some scenes from other characters’ point of view. Some of my supporting characters are as compelling as my main character. Let their POV be seen.
- Don’t rush the process. Over the past two weeks, I have noticed that it takes me 10-15 minutes to fully engage in the writing process, but once I do, the scene starts to write itself. Let it happen. Don’t panic, just allow myself to ease into the zone.
- Make note of errors and inconsistencies for later correction. I have noted some historical inaccuracies, name concerns, and other minor flaws. Recognizing that more will inevitably materialize, save the errors for editing time, rather than NaNoWriMo time.
- Seek out professional advice. In addition to reading a wide assortment of novel writing articles on Medium and Pinterest, I read a book I bought decades ago, The Art & Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley Hall (1989), from which I garnered a few useful tips, and I began reading an e-book from the library, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass (2016). I have four more writing books on hold at the library, all of which I will work through as I proceed with the editing process once NaNoWriMo is over on November 30.
- Don’t allow doubt to derail your progress. Is my plot line weak? Are my characters too shallow to engage an audience? Have faith that the story is culturally and historically relevant. Have confidence that the characters are engaging and emotionally compelling. Believe that this story deserves to be told and keep telling it!