Short story: I was supposed to go on holiday for a week in November, but it’s been cancelled. So I’m sitting here, a week off work with nothing to do, and everyone’s doing NaNoWriMo. So I figured I’ll try to catch up.
My Goal: I’m going to write a novel in a week. Since NaNo is 50.000 words, that’s what I’m going for. (If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, go check it out here.) I’ve never done it officially, but this week I’ll try to join in my own special way.
Methodology: I’m starting on Monday (November 12), ending on Sunday (November 18). I need to write an average of 7148 words a day, to make it. I’m not doing much else this week, so I’m going to treat it as a day job.
What am I writing: I always have, at all times, multiple future projects lined up. I’m not a plotter anyway, so any of those could work, but I do tend to stop and do a bit of research here and there as I’m going. So I’ve chosen a project that I think is going to be easy to work a lot on, quickly. I don’t want to be caught up in having to solve plot issues or work out whats happening (even if it’s just a 1st draft).
I’m writing a thriller-horror thing, set in a run down hotel (cue all The Shining references). There’s going to be only on major character, a man who’s checking in to the hotel, and a few side characters, the people who live and work there. I have a bit more planned than that, but I don’t want to give too much away, it’s probably going to chance a lot anyway. Currently, I have 74 words in the outline for this project. Yes, this is how I work.
Expectations: I’ll be honest and objective about this: I don’t think I’ll be successful. I’ll be happy if I even reach half the word count at 25k, but I’ll try my best. My biggest challenge is trying to not be too distracted and actually putting the work down, even if I’ve sat down to write. But we’ll see.
Day-to-day Updates: I’ll be adding notes, thoughts, and word counts per day below. This is an exciting project both because I might have a book at the end, but it’s also a challenge for myself to see if it’s a sustainable work method. I’m curious to see how it will go.
Monday (12th): That’s day one done, with 8532 words to show for! Way more than I was expecting and over a thousand words more than my daily goal of 7142 which I need to make 50,000 in a week. I’m surprised at how well I manage, even considering I have spent ALL day doing this. But it’s been fun, challenging of course, but interesting. (Then there’s the unrelated question of how good a book this is going to be, but for now, I’m happy). I’m glad I had such a good start, because that means I’ve proven to myself it’s doable and I don’t have to struggle to catch up with the daily average tomorrow.
Tuesday (13th): Day two is done, and I’m currently at 15,728 words, which means I’ve hit just above the daily amount I was aiming for, as well as retaining the surplus I have from yesterday. Also, I feel like this project has evolved to becoming something much more exciting than it was yesterday. Yesterday I felt like maybe I was going to fast, not quite sure where I’d end up, but today it took some great turns, and though I’ve always been a pantser/discovery writer, this is pantsing on another level complete, so I’m happy to see that it works. Now, of course, a first draft is only ever a first draft, but I think there could be something really interesting here, beyond the whole writing-a-book-super-fast experiment. Also, I feel like I’m breaking myself in, so to speak, as if I’m reaching speeds of level that I’ll be able to retain when I go back to my regular WIP (even though I’m not going to go quite as fast as I am now). Looking forward to tomorrow.
Wednesday (14th): Another day well spent, pushing my word count to 23,542! This means I’ve hit the daily average, while still retaining the excess words from the two last day, as well as adding 500 words or so on top. All while being sick, and finishing two hours earlier than yesterday! Things are going great. Today I kept the story rolling, but I also wrote out the ending, or at least the closing chapter (there might be more ending to come right before that, but who knows). I’m also, thankfully, enjoying the story more and more, and it seems to be coming together surprisingly well, considering the speed I’m going at. Let’s hope for another successful day tomorrow, and if I keep going, maybe I can reach 50k by Saturday!
Thursday (15th): Day four done, and I’m halfway through both in time and words, with a total of 32,024 words! Still keeping up with the daily average + a little extra, and I’m really happy with how the story is evolving. I’m going to have a pretty decent first draft after this, and I’m used to adding and fleshing out when I edit anyway, so this is going to be great. Excited to get it in the hands of some of my alpha readers, to see what they think. Hopefully I’ll be able to crack 40k tomorrow, maybe a bit more, so that I either can finish on Saturday, or at least have a shorter day on Sunday.
Friday (16th): Day five leaves me at 40,462 words, which again is above the daily goal and the daily average. With any luck I can finish tomorrow or I’ll at least have to do less both Saturday and Sunday. Today has been the absolute hardest day so far, as I’m getting increasingly ill and I had to sleep in today. I’ve also have hardly done anything else today, other than to chug tea and pop pills – so let’s hope I can beat this thing by tomorrow and make it easier for the home stretch. The story is coming along well, it was a bit difficult to figure out where to take parts of it today, but at the same time, I’m not very certain about the ending, which should make tomorrow easier and interesting.
Saturday (17th): So, in a weird turn of events, I’ve managed to finished the draft at exactly 43,900 words. I know that wasn’t the goal I set out to, ideally I’d like to meet 50k, but at the same time, I’m sitting here looking at this story, and I know it’s done. I finished. Obviously, it just a draft, and as I edit I’ll flesh it out and add more to it, but I’m happy. Not only happy, almost proud both of the story, and the fact that I managed to do it all in a week (6 days!) So there you have it – can it be done? Yes. Is it advisable? I’m not sure. I’ll write a separate blog post where I say more about the whole experience, but right now, I need a break!
Sunday (18th): Finito!