It’s a little more than seven days till the start of NaNoWriMo! For those of you who didn’t get to read my post last week, that acronym stands for National Novel Writing Month. For 30 days, about 300k people around the world are going to do their level best to completely write a 50k word novel. That is a lot harder than it sounds, trust me. The novel has to be, well, you know, real. It can’t be one word repeated 50k times. There have to be characters, plot, conflict, etc… It takes planning to come up with a decent plot structure, multidimensional characters, and effective conflict and resolution for every scene.
The rules of the challenge are simple–write a 50k word first draft in 30 days. To be considered a winner, all you have to do is finish 50k words in some semblance of order. It doesn’t have to be publishable; after all, no one in their right mind (or who is serious about being a published author) would publish a first draft.
While I am totally excited about doing this, I have run into a few challenges. I’ll share what they are and how I came up with solutions.
The first challenge is that my novel will most definitely end with about 70-90k words. The rules state that for me to be considered a “winner”, I only have to get 50k words finished. That means a beginning, middle and end have to be apparent in the novel. Since it’s just the first draft, I can pump it up later with additional fight scenes, descriptions and other stuff to complete it to my satisfaction. So challenge #1 solved.
The second challenge is that while I had already started working on this novel months ago, I have changed the plot twice. With that, I’ve also written eight chapters. However, because of the changes, only two of those chapters will still work. As the contest doesn’t start until November 1st, the word count can’t include anything written before that date. I lost sleep over this issue because those chapters are necessary to the story and cheating for me is not an option. So, the solution came to me the other morning while praying as I was driving my husband to the train station. On the days when those two chapters would be included, I will still write 2000 words. I will only count the words I actually write that day. By the end of the month, I should have over 50k words, but I will only count the ones I actually wrote during the month. Challenge #2 solved.
The third is still a challenge. This one is going to take imagination, late nights, lots of coffee and hot chocolate, and even a little rum. I have to complete most of the outline before I can sit down and just pound out the book. I’m not a pantser (person who can write a book without planning). I need a road map so that I’ll know if I’m headed in the right direction. Of course, I can deviate from the outline as long as the story stays on track. So far, with the newly re-plotted book, I only have the first 8 chapters outlined (plus the other two which have already been written).
Hopefully, by the time I write again next Monday, I will have at least 30+ chapters outlined. Keep your fingers crossed!