NaNoWriMo, Week 1; or, The Battle Begins

(This posting originally appeared on The Melt-Ink Pot)

This week finds me already deep in the throes of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, or as some prefer to think of it, the time of year when tens of thousands of normally sane people abandon their grasp on reality and decide to do something irrational, like write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days.

I am, once again, among their numbers. I think I’ve reached the point where it would seem strange not to be pounding away at the keyboard while munching on the leftover Halloween candy, and trying to plan Thanksgiving so as to maximize the writing time I have available.

I love the first week of NaNoWriMo. I love crawling out of bed a little early each morning to try to get a scene written before work (though some days that goes better than others), and gulping down my lunch as quickly as I can so I can crack open the netbook and pound out a few more words, then stopping to grab supper on the way home so I can eat quickly and get back to the keyboard. All of those movies and TV shows in the To Be Watched pile will just have to wait until December. (Thank goodness we finished up The Man From U.N.C.L.E. last month!)

As I’ve mentioned previously, this year I’m working on the sequel to last year’s story, “The Daughters of August Winterbourne.” Until just a few hours ago, the title wasn’t any more imaginative than “The Daughters of August Winterbourne, Book Two,” but now I’ve added a subtitle: “The Skies of War.” I think it’s still more of a working title, and it may be that that is a more suitable title for the third book in the planned trilogy. And of course, it means I need to go back and come up with a subtitle for the first book at some point.

Book One was written mostly as a tight third-person POV around Celia Winterbourne, the main character of the story. There were a few digressions into other points of view here and there, but Celia carried the main body of the narrative.

This year, I’m trying something a little different. I’m planning to alternate between Celia’s POV and that of her love interest, Nicholas Fletcher. I’ve rarely done a male POV character in the past, so I hope I can pull it off. Thus far, Nicholas appears to be an easy character to write, though he is a bit prone to info-dumping. I’m letting him have at it for the time being, but I’ve already earmarked a few passages for later trimming.

For example, does the audience really care that the Tarmanian language is a combination of Hungarian, various Slavic languages, all with a little Mongolian thrown in, and that it has two distinct dialects, High and Low Tarmanian? Nicholas seems to think so, but I’m not so certain. It does, at least, explain why anyone would have difficulty learning it, but perhaps that level of detail isn’t necessary. Still, as they say, write now, edit later.

Which is always my biggest challenge with NaNoWriMo: Keeping my inner editor leashed and out of the way. It’s especially difficult for me this year because I was working on edits to Book One right up until the beginning of November. Switching from “edit-head” to “writer-head” is always a challenge for me. After some discussion, we seem to have come to an uneasy truce: She’s allowed to contribute to the process, but only if she adds to the word count, or at least does not cause it to decrease. If she really insists, we can highlight a section in yellow to indicate that it will be deleted later; and of course, if she thinks of something that really ought to be added, that’s quite all right. We’ll see how that works out.

Meanwhile, while I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping on pace so far, I’ve only written about 600 words today, so I have another thousand to go before I sleep. I’d better get with it.

Happy NaNoing!


About sheilamcclune

Aspiring author, sharing the tidbits I've learned along the way.
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