My 2020 NaNo Log – Week 1

It’s 2020 and it’s November. That means I’m still in lockdown and I’m participating in my seventh NaNoWriMo. I couldn’t have asked for NaNo to begin any better. In fact, the flexibility of my methods are already paying off.

Yes, these are crazy times, but the way I see it, if I can’t escape the world in my novel how can I expect it to do the same for a reader. No, I’m not immune to stress (I actually suffer from anxiety). Thus, I celebrate good news where I can find it, so let’s dig into the beginning of my first week…

As always, I felt both insufficiently prepared and prepared enough. Per personal tradition, I stayed up late on the 31st of October and wrote for over an hour. The words were flowing so easily I had to force myself to go to bed.

That’s always a good sign.

It continued to be a good sign all through the 1st. I took breaks to eat, even though I wasn’t that hungry. I engaged in a few other distractions. I also performed a yoga session. Even so, I’d often get up from the desk to walk around and the next thing I knew I was writing again.

Had been writing, in fact, because I couldn’t remember returning. That was new.

I was literally writing at the upper end of my typing comfort zone and finished the day with 8,277 words. I checked last year’s records. My biggest single-day count was just over 6.5K. It does seem to me, though, that I hit around 7.5K a couple of years ago.

Regardless, this is about the story and not numbers other than I want to finish by the end of the month. If the novel is ultimately around 120K then I have to average at least 4K/day. That means more celebrating because I’m ahead.

Day Two I purposely tried to throttle back a bit to save my body. It is, after all, a marathon and not a sprint. Also on the second day, writing tends to become more complicated. More characters are introduced and I’m more prone to deviating from the narrative outline.

This year, on Day Two, I did both. When I talk about deviating from the outline I’m not referring to substantial changes (and hopefully I won’t have to do that). Instead, I mean changes made on the fly. Facts introduced sooner or withheld until later. Minor changes pertaining to when events within a scene occur.

Yeah, like that.

It gives me more to think about. There are times when I’m still typing while I think. That results in my becoming wordy. It also makes for interesting reading later.

That’s what editing is for.

Once you make your peace with editing, or even come to like it, which I have, there’s little that can happen while drafting that concerns you. You’ve seen it all before and know it can be fixed. These days, issues don’t haunt me as I push on.

For Day Two I had 5,532 words.

Day Three was, of course, the election, but I kept it out of my head (for the most part) until evening. Even then, I only monitored it about once per hour. When I’d had enough I indulged some video and went to bed. I don’t take sleeping pills (I absolutely can’t take sleeping pills), but I do have ways of aiding my sleep. I turned to all of them that night and slept almost ten hours.

Cover: CA Hawthorne

I needed it.

Still, it’d been a productive day of 5,126 words. Thus, so far I’ve been way over my needed average each day. That, too, gives me peace of mind because any poor or nonexistent days later will be covered.

More important than all those numbers is that I’m learning more and more about my characters. You can only brainstorm so much and make guesses. Even attempting interviews with them isn’t the same. Those efforts, for me, are too static. I need to be there while my characters are living.

It’s part of the reason I wrote half-a-dozen backstory tales for Talma Loyal.

Now, though, I’m also writing other characters and some are different than I’d imagined. That isn’t unusual, nor is it unusual for relationships to be different than I’d envisioned.

As I write this on the 4th I’ve just reached the inciting incident. There’s been plenty that’s happened already, but this next chapter propels the novel forward in a big way. My stories are, after all, focused on characters, but driven by the plot. Talma has been struggling with much personally, but it’ll be this chapter that puts it all in a new context.

Most of NaNo remains, and while barring disaster, I’ll easily win NaNo. My focus, though, remains firmly on finishing this novel by the end of the month. A strong start makes that so much easier.

About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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