NaNoWriMo – What have I gotten myself into?

As the title might suggest, I’m one of the thousands and thousands of people around the world who are going to be participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. And I’m more than a bit nervous to be honest.

I’m nervous because I’ve only tried to write something longer than a 4-6K word short story once (and mostly my stories are way shorter than that). That was during Camp WriMo (a similar activity without a fixed word count) some years back where I wrote a horrible first draft for a novella that took more than double the allocated time to get down on paper. But now I’m committing myself to writing a 50K words novella in just a month,  hopefully one that doesn’t suck as much.

It’s not so much the word count that worries me. I’ve build up a lot more writing discipline since my last attempt, and 50K words through 30 days (1667 words/day) shouldn’t be a problem if I have a decent outline. But that’s where the first of my problems arise. I don’t.

Lately, I’ve been focusing on doing my writing exercises and writing whatever short stories popped into my mind, which is great and all, but it doesn’t really help me with a novella outline. So all I got is a very rough overview of how I want my story to unfold. And to make it worse, it doesn’t seem like I have a 50K story.

For short stories there’s a rough guideline saying that every character and every scene you put in the story adds another 500 words. Now, novels usually have more descriptions and so a higher word count per scene. But even if I up it to 1000 words per scene/character, I’m only coming in at 30K words.

But that’s just part of the problem. The quality is another issue in itself. As I said, I almost exclusively have experience with short fiction, and I really worry that this is going to turn into another disaster. I know it’s not going to be a master piece, probably not even sellable work, but I still would hate to spend an entire month’s worth of writing on something that’s just pure crap when I just as well could’ve spent it on more deliberate practice.

Well, I should really stop worrying and stop whining at use as much time as possible getting ready for the challenge. And when it comes to deliberate practice, I just have to get the best out of it. It is, after all, a chance to practice writing bigger stories with more POV characters, more plot lines, and more well developed character arcs than I’m used to. That, and I’m going to try and focus on getting the mood right in every scene, making the most of the longer description I hopefully manage to get in there.

That’s it from me this time. I hope I’ll have the time to post a few updates doing NaNoWriMo, and to all of those out there taking on the challenge yourself, good luck!

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