Monday, December 12, 2011

When NaNo Attacks

I've been quiet these past few weeks and it's not that I'm ignoring the whole noveling process. In fact, I'm basically devoting all of my free time and energy into it. It's been my version of Nano, starting on November 17 rather than on November 1.

The results so far: 45,000 words. The NaNo goal is 50,000, and I should be able to break that before December 17.

My target word count for a working first draft is 75,000. But at the same time, I have some placeholders which essentially just have "This goes here", so I'm guessing the realistic end of the first-first draft is 70,000 words, then when I fill in the holes, it'll be up to around 75,000.

In my previous attempts to Nano-charge through something, I've often used an outline to get through it. I find that having that structure helps me generate ideas better. Now, I referenced Blake Snyder's Save The Cat in my last post, and what I've found is that this has given appropriate pacing to that structure. Blake Snyder essentially breaks the story up into four parts:

1) The setup
2) The first half of the second half (fun and games)
3) The second half of the second half (bad guys close in)
4) The synthesis, where it all comes together

With a rough story arc done based on the Save The Cat beat sheet, I've found that I've been pacing based on each quarter. That is, I know what beats I have to hit in each quarter, but with an associated word count, I can create a rough map for each scene (assuming each scene averages to 1,000 words). This leaves enough wiggle room for improvisation and random inspiration but enough structure to keep it focused. And by writing the story chronologically this way, each quarter-section map allows me a little bit of time to breath, review what's been done, and incorporate surprise elements into the next quarter.

My original goal was 50,000 words by the end of December, then a finished first draft at the end of January. Screw that, let's aim high and see if I can finish the first draft by the end of 2011.


  1. Good for you for almost getting to 50K. That is a huge accomplishment! Good luck with finishing that first draft!
    My life has been crazy that I have hardly written. My goal is to start a picture book that a small company has asked me to write. I hope to have part of that written by end of this year!! :)

  2. I basically dedicate all of my free time to working on this. It's fairly insane but I have this giant fear that if I let up, the creative momentum will just die off.

    Hell, I made it this far. Might as well push through to the end, right?