Thursday, November 16, 2006

NaNoWriMo: Half Way There


Fifteen days into it, I've made it past the 20K word mark, but I'm falling behind target. At 1667 words per day, by the end of last night I should have reached half way, or 25K words. Didn't quite get there, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up this weekend, which is blissfully free of familial birthday ceremonies.

What have I learned so far?

  • Writing at this pace is isolating. I'm using up almost all of my lunch hour by making sure I only spend five minutes microwaving food and eating it. People in my office went for a $5 steak lunch yesterday and I had to say no. Thinking about it now makes my mouth water: I could really use a steak and I'm probably lacking in iron and protein.
  • It's also tiring. I've been getting into odd sleeping habits like two hour naps when I get home. My sleep is fitful because I often spend the hour before lying on the couch or in bed coming up with new plot points.
  • Speaking of plotting, I can safely say that my first fortnight's worth of writing went far more smoothly than the rest is shaping up to be. This is because I'd spent a few months cooking up the beginning and had good notes on the first part of the novel, roughly fifty pages. This whole process is panning out much the same as it did with my first novel, where I knew what would happen at the beginning and the end and very little idea about the whole middle chunk.
  • In two weeks I have produced over 20,000 words, roughly 80 pages. That's almost a third of an entire novel. In two weeks. And it seems to be of better quality than previous efforts. I suppose I've learned a lot about writing over the last two years and that certainly helps. Also having been through the process before, I'm aware of some of my work habits and where they lead.
  • I'm still excited about this novel. Some of the scenes I've written are pushing me to new limits: I've been experimenting with dreamlike sequences set in the past, seen by my main character, Jules Nolan, through the eyes of someone living in 1910s Australia. I'm using techniques I've come across in thrillers--techniques I've shunned in the past--and I'm using them with good reason: they suit the story.
  • Music has helped get me into character for particular scenes. It's really helped me to maintain the voice I want for the writing. I'm shooting for prose that has a deadening feel. Words that remove the smile from your face. I desperately hope this novel will inspire feelings of dread and I think that after the revision process, there's a good chance it will.
P.J. Parrish is going to be putting my novel's current opening through the wringer as part of her Booky Noise series. I'm fully expecting to cringe at some of my mistakes, but I'm also hoping to learn something. I've never had feedback on a novel at this early a stage, so it should be interesting and eye opening.

When it comes around, I'll post about it here. Feel free to join in and tell me exactly what parts of my head are up my arse.

Now, back to 'bum on chair, fingers on keyboard'.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that you've got no time for your woman or friends but I'm not complaining...

Daniel Hatadi said...

You forgot this part, Mary:

:)

Lucky I know you and your Balkan humour.

anne frasier said...

i won't mention the crazy woman over on my blog threatening you with a prosthetic.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Anne, your blog is turning into a doghouse. It's far more sane over here.

Oh look! A purple pterodactyl is trying to steal my MAGIC BAG!

Ahem.

angie said...

Sorry, dude. You can run, but you can't hide...

:o)

Daniel Hatadi said...

Angie, put the bottle down...

angie said...

S'all right. It's empty anyway...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Post an address and we'll send Mary a whip. That will help you finish.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Sometimes a purple pterodactyl is just a purple pterodactyl.