NaNo Week Three Update

As we head into the third week and the second half of NaNoWriMo, I’m going pretty strong. In fact, I’m doing better right now than I have at any of the previous years at this point. Usually I’m floating a day or two at most over part (25,005 words today), but now I’m almost a week ahead (I’m at 36,002 right now). And this is with two zero-word days last week, and one with less than a thousand words. I’m willing to call this a triumph.

This puts me at about a quarter of the way done with my finished product at about a fifth of the way through the time I had budgeted for it (33,000 words in 13 days). I’m really hoping that I can keep that rate up for the next month or two. I’m definitely feeling like I’ve gone over at least a minor hump – it takes a lot more to keep me distracted from writing than it used to. For the first time, I feel like I’d stand a chance doing this professionally.

But that’s a secondary concern. Right now I’m just happy to be doing well, and to have beat my own insecurities however temporarily.

I feel like I’m coming up on an awkward point in my story, though. The action has cooled down a little bit, which worries me, and what’s worse is that one of my main characters is coming up on a chapter or two where she won’t have a lot to do. I’m kind of playing around with viewpoints, and I think that I’ve chosen the wrong one for a couple of scenes.

The main characters are appealing to a sort of black market overlord for protection from various government and corporate forces. This overlord has some history with a few of the characters, so I tried to select a viewpoint character who might not know the whole story in order to avoid having to explain it to the reader. I’m not sure if this is the right decision, because as the stage is getting set for the main action of the novel’s second quarter, she won’t have a lot of important choices to make. That’s not the most interesting thing for a viewpoint character.

Naturally I have to keep going with it for now; I’ll change it in the re-write if that’s demanded. I just hate it when I start something and immediately realize that it might not have been the best decision.

That reminds me of something that I’ve noticed in my own writing, and maybe you in readerland can relate. I find that I’m often paranoid about putting too much description and too little whitespace in my stories. I think that if I’ve gone more than two paragraphs without at least a little bit of action I’m boring my readers and they’ll just toss the book down.

On the other hand, as I’ve read bits of Towers of Midnight over my wife’s shoulder, I can see that Brandon Sanderson is definitely less worried about that than I am. I think not being able to see how much of a page, or how many pages, a given bit of description takes up makes me nervous that I’ve crossed a line. I’m probably just being paranoid, especially since it’ll all get tightened up in the rewrite, but it’s something I continually find myself thinking on. Or at least, my inner editor does.

2 responses to “NaNo Week Three Update

  1. Nice work on the word count.

    One thing I’d point out is that it’s probably not important for the viewpoint character not to know the whole story, just for someone to be around who doesn’t know the story who needs it explained.

    I know what you mean with description paranoia. I’m way in the “concise writing is good writing” camp, I get the same thing.

    • Actually, the real issue is that I don’t want to have to explain the story to anyone, but to just leave it implied. The viewpoint character is attending these underworld negotiations because her presence is supposed to lend an air of sincerity to her comrades, not because she’s actually going to be contributing much.

      The good news is, having written half the chapter I can say that, even though I’ll probably change it in the revision, it’s not as awkward as I feared.

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