Michille: Unusual Strategy for National Novel Writing Month

NaNoAs the title of this blog post suggests, I plan to have an unusual strategy for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or just NaNo), which commences on November 1. The typical NaNo goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s about 1,667 words per day. I am taking a different approach this year and working on the words I got on the page last year and trying to incorporate them into the overall manuscript.

I started with a skeletal story of about 40,000 words that was my master’s thesis. Then last November wrote 50,000 more words to flesh it out. I wrote the first 40k in a coherent order and the NaNo 50k in random scenes. Right after NaNo ended, I made excellent progress on inserting scenes where they should go and re-figuring the plot to make some other stuff fit. In working so diligently through November and probably through about January/February, I made great headway.

And then Life interrupted. As I’m sure at least one or two of you have experienced that, I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say work stalled and then I got so far out of the story that I could never get myself motivated to get back into it. I’m going to use NaNo to hopefully get back in my story.

I’m not sure yet what my approach is going to be. I wrote about 36 scenes during last year’s NaNo, and as I mentioned earlier, some have been incorporated. None have been edited. I googled and discovered that those who were able to time their writing reported that writing 1,667 words takes about an hour and a half, give or take. I know my writing only goes that fast when I already have an idea in my head. When I’m struggling with where a scene is going (or a scene idea at all), it can take a lot longer. But if I work with an hour and a half a day, I can figure out a schedule.

Now I just have to figure out what I’m going to do in that hour and a half because there are three things at work:

  1. figuring out where the scenes go in the plot,
  2. re-plotting when necessary for when the NaNo scenes pushed the story in a different direction (1 and 2 may need to happen simultaneously),
  3. and editing the scenes.

My strategy last year and this year isn’t the original idea of NaNo which is to start with a whole new story idea and write the whole dang thing in a month. And while I’m not sure exactly what my strategy is going to be, it’s not that. Hmmm. Two more weeks to figure it out.

Anyone else working on their strategy for NaNo? Or if you’re not doing NaNo, do you have a strategy to approach your writing in November?

6 thoughts on “Michille: Unusual Strategy for National Novel Writing Month

  1. I have a similar strategy since I have oodles of words I’m ignoring already. But NaNo makes me accountable to finally do something with them.

    My first stumbling block however was with the prep as the website is wonky and keeps shutting down on me. I think I complained about it on my blog but I haven’t checked if anyone else is having the same problem.

    Anyway, good luck! See you on the other side!

  2. Wow, Michille, it sounds like the book is basically all written, you “just” have to glue the pieces together and smooth the transitions, which can be a lot of work and thought, I know. But it sounds like you’ve got your plot. That’s awesome! I have no idea how you’re going to make that work for NaNo, but I’m sure you’ll find a way. Good luck!

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