Here we are, half way through December, and I haven’t blogged about my NaNoWriMo experience yet. Here goes.
This was my first attempt at NaNoing. I was working on Ready-Made Grave, the same novel I began over the 3-Day Novel Contest weekend (Labor Day). My goal was to begin November with 45,000 words and end with 90,000.
I started with 41,829 and ended with 76,685.
Ah, well. That’s not total failure. Here’s what happened. I was trotting along, writing the 1,667 words or more every day with ease. I was on track for complete success. However, there was a nagging thought in the back of my head that had been there since I first began work on Ready-Made Grave. See, it’s a murder mystery, but the death doesn’t happen until at least halfway through. Up until that point (as this synopsis makes clear), it’s 13 artistic-type people wandering around a cemetery, trying to make art. So I didn’t have one “story-worthy problem” to drive the narrative forward, nor one through-line to connect the 13 characters to one conflict.
Then on Wednesday the 18th, I had a brilliant “Eureka moment.” I figured out my story-worthy conflict! Here it is: the leader of the artists’ group springs a surprise on them: after they’re all gathered in the cemetery, he announces that they are all locked in, and he won’t let them out until they show him an art project that’s good enough. They’re trapped.
I loved this idea, and for the rest of that week, all went well.
But then I got stuck. I couldn’t figure out the logistics of how to move material around to accomplish this grand new idea. And then I had a huge academic project to do. And then 3 days straight of cooking and traveling for Thanksgiving. Finally, on Friday morning, the day after Thanksgiving (when I woke up two hours before anyone else), I got unstuck. But by then it was too late to make the NaNoWrMo word count.
Oh, well. Quality over quantity, right? Now I’m at 78,254 words and making good progress. Plus I’ve been working on two short stories and a poem recently. And that huge academic project I mentioned. So there’s been plenty of writing going on at Higgins’ Croft these days — just not 50,000 words on one thing in a month. Maybe next year!