Sunday, November 23, 2014

Doing the nanowrimo

At the beginning of the month I suddenly decided to take up the National Novel Writing Month challenge, normally abbreviated to nanowrimo, an abbreviation I have to look up every time because I can't remember it.

For those who don't know about this challenge, the idea is that you write what is basically the draft of a 50,000 word novel from the 1st to 30th of November (inclusive). That's the goal. I'm sure a lot of people start off intending to get there, and wind up some 1000s of words short. Or give up.

Having started I decided I'd be content with doing a thousand words a day, since that's about the length of my two previous children's novels. But now that I'm close to the finishing mark, with 34845 words in the can, I'm inclined to want to get to the 50,000 word mark just to prove I can do it. Tonight has been a real slog; the characters have no idea how they're going to get past the latest problem (well, actually it's a problem that's been looming for a while because I wrote a section the other day that came much later in the story, and now I'm trying to work out how we got there.)

This has been a common issue throughout the book. Because you're not supposed to plan or do a structure in advance, you're writing blind, and while this means things arrive out of the blue that you wouldn't have otherwise thought of, it also means you put your characters in situations they struggle to work their way out of. It doesn't help that two of the characters seem to be intermingling, and we're never quite sure which one is which. (By 'we' I mean 'me', of course.)

The story is a kind of prequel to the other two books I've published this year, Grimhilda! and The Blood Secret. And that's also meant that there has to be a scene in it in which two of the characters (a married couple) wind up permanently attached to each other - attached in the literal sense, unable to separate themselves. Quite why this should happen, how it's going to happen, and what will be the consequences, is all in the future at this point.

Ah well.

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