Seven days and just short of 7,000 words in. I’m about 5,000 words behind schedule and NaNoWriMo’s improved statistics urgently informs me that if I continue at my current pace, I won’t finish until December 21st! Progress has been very slow this first week, especially compared to last year, when the end of week one clocked me in at 16,000 words. This was the first year that I didn’t write a single word on November 1st because I was busy trying to finish all my toning for The Z Train. Even after I finished the comic up on Tuesday though, I was pretty lazy about getting my daily word quota in.
I just don’t feel very panicked yet. It’s weird because usually I’m very high-strung about all this. I have no doubt that the panic will set in eventually, but in the meantime, despite being rather behind, I feel pretty okay about this year’s writing so far. I don’t hate what I’ve written, and I don’t have doubts yet about finishing. After all, I don’t have finals to deal with midway through the month this year. All three of my NaNoWriMo wins happened in college. The 9-to-5 is less stressful, so surely I will finish this year.
To contrast with last year’s completely impromptu story, this year, I’m writing a thing that’s been bouncing around in my head for the better of seven or eight years. It’s been interesting to be writing something I’ve spent so much collective time thinking about. Generally, the longer you work on something, the more attached you are, and the less likely you are to change things dramatically and take risks and explore. That was one of the reasons I had been hesitant to use the idea earlier.
But I had nothing better for this year, and despite last year’s “success,” I didn’t want to dive in blind again. Even though I got my 50,000 words in 2009, in reviewing the contents in subsequent months, I decided that I didn’t really want to pursue a more finished version. It wasn’t really that the writing was bad (though it was), but I just wasn’t very interested in the story or the characters. Even if it had werewolves.
And hey, as far as this story goes (which, after all this time, still does not have a title), I am far more attached to the characters than I am the story itself, so I feel it is still pretty flexible in that sense. It started off all those years ago as some kind of sci-fi thing. Then it turned into historical/supernatural. Now it is decidedly fantasy. The story and plot and focus has changed a lot in all that time. And a week before November, I decided to change something major again, so it is once again not really the same story it was before. So far in these first 6,806 words, I’ve been making up a lot of stuff on the fly. It’s like I’m still writing with NaNoWriMo’s spirit of wild abandon, but with characters I’m rather familiar with. In a way, I suppose this is similar to what I did in 2006 and 2007.
This year though, I’m challenging myself to avoid some of the tricks I’ve used in previous years to finish. This means:
- Writing scenes in order
- No flashbacks.
- No werewolves.
So far, the first one has been the biggest challenge. I often get bored writing transitional scenes, and it is harder to write when I’m bored, obviously. But writing scenes out of order makes it easy for me to lose focus and the plot gets lost rather quickly. In both 2006 and 2007, the stories started off sequential and then started jumping all over the place when I started to get desperate for words. The disarray has played its part in keeping me from touching either since those years. 2009 was not quite as bad, but it still had its share of weird time jumps. I suppose I have a weakness for the non-sequitur.
Earlier drafts of 2010′s story included equal portions flashback and current story. For a while, the plan had been swap back and forth every other chapter or so for two concurrent stories that meet somewhere in the middle. I still think that that is an okay idea, but the balance between the two halves of the story have never been balanced, and it’s been refreshing to put all the focus on the “current” side. The flashbacks — the backstory — are some of the oldest remnants of the original story. Much of what I’d previously written on the project were concentrated in the backstory too, so of course it’s better for NaNoWriMo to focus on the other parts so it’s less like cheating!
This universe doesn’t have werewolves (well, not as far as I know), so the last one’s easy! It’s on the list because all three of my NaNo wins have involved werewolves, so this is a good break and a chance to prove I’m not wholly dependent on them, lol.
I had been hoping to catch up on my word count over the weekend. This obviously hasn’t turned out so well, but I’m still not worried yet.
Just waiting for that panic to set in. Maybe in another week.