What Are Our Family’s Words?

Posted: June 26, 2013 in Twelve
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“NaNoWriMo is coming.”

Since rejoining the NaNoWriMo community  a year ago I get really excited every time it’s that time. Doesn’t matter if it’s the “real deal” in November or the camp editions; I can’t wait to strut my stuff and prove to myself that I can be a word writing machine. This summer heralded the beginning of my own personal “I write, therefore I am” approach to my craft. I told myself I need to write every workday and crank out that novel I’ve been working on since last August. Writing is easy now that I’m not mentally exhausted, and as I’m at God’s good graces as far as what I do with my time there are no excuse to not make word count. This means during the month of July I have no excuse to not dominate Camp NaNoWriMo. This novel will get finished. Finished novel or bust!

This still will not be an easy task. Typically, NaNoWriMo is divided into 31 days, each day requiring 1,667 words in order to meet quota and stay on the road to victory.

I’m not doing that.

My time is divided up a bit differently because I still need to keep my romantic relationship intact. I’m sticking with work-week only. This means I have 23 days in which to write 50,000 words, basically 2,174 words per day. That’s a metric shit-ton of words. That’s twice what I’m currently churning out per day (but at least it’s not double the NaNo baseline, which would be rough). The plan is to crank out as much as possible that first week in an attempt to reduce the daily goal and/or buy myself a few lazy days. Making up a lost day will not be easy, so it’s best to build a buffer.

Just as a buffer will be important, so will an actual game plan of my plot. I may have mentioned before that I typically fly by the seat of my pants when I write. I start with a basic idea and build as I go. It’s not the most sophisticated of work habits, but it’s worked for me for a long time. However, I’ve recently found that it doesn’t work so well with longer works. Short stories, fine, but not a novel. This realization hit me smack dab in the face yesterday when I sat down after finishing a chapter the previous day and hadn’t a clue what came next. I was stuck.

What are our family’s other words?

“We do not outline.”

Except when we realize we need to.

Today was outlining day. I wrote nothing except outline for how the rest of the book is to proceed. I’m still not completely finished, but I’m mighty close. The finished book will have roughly 30 chapters and probably clock in at a good 75,000 words when I’m done with the first draft. That is possibly a low-ball estimation. I’m not really good with numbers. I do know that I currently sit at 35,000 words with 9 chapters done. If the rest of the chapters follow the same word count pattern then that’s another… whoops, math. 75,000 is certainly a low estimation, as double what I have would bring me to 70,000. Maybe closer to 85,000? At this point in the game I’m not sure if it can be told in fewer words, or if it needs to be. I just know it’s longer than expected. (Just think, when I started this endeavor I thought I would be lucky if it came in around 50,000. Crazy.)

As far as outlining goes, I still need to make a flow chart of a day-by-day list of main events and correlate it to my list of chapters so I can see how it all lines up. The daily schedule within the book is really important, far more important than I originally realized and I need to get everything set up perfectly to coincide with a specific date/event. This has required a lot of thinking (and later will require tweaking of what I already wrote to make it fit). Thus, a simple chapter outline is not enough, I need to see it in another way.

Interestingly enough, this need to outline coincides with the rough outlining of events in the 90-day novel. Coincidence? I think not.



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