This Year’s NaNoWriMo Experience

This year marks my fifth attempt at National Novel Writing Month. It marks the first year that I’m not a Municipal Liaison (The only other year I wasn’t ML was my very first year.)

As has been my luck, it would appear that I will be keeping up with my tradition of winning in my odd years. But what I don’t think I ever could have seen coming was how this novel would play out.

During the last two weeks of October, I planned out my novel in outline form. That alone was over 10,000 words long, not a single bit of it eligible for cutting and pasting into the novel so I was still within the rules for not actually writing my novel before November. I spent the last weekend of October prepping my writing journal for November, and wrote out the minimum necessary word counts on my calendar, complete with a spot to write my word count at the end of the day.

The plan was simple. I’d struggle to make word count each day, and then record my total word count in green if I was ahead or red if I was behind. Even better, my sensei offered to make me do crunches if I got behind- one for every word I was behind. I hate doing crunches, so it seemed like a good plan.

It all went out the window on November 1. I wrote an unprecedented 3,725 words. Here, now, on the morning of November 6, I’m starting the day with over 20,000 words written. I’ve never written anything so quickly in my life.

The explanation is a simple one, though. My novel is set in a private performing arts high school, and the main character is studying dance. As a result, I’ve incorporated some ballets into the story. The first lesson I learned is that virtually nobody creates torrents for ballets. The second lesson I learned is that the libraries in culturally sophisticated Seattle really don’t carry ballet, either. (The third lesson I learned is that some librarians can be condescending half-wits, but that’s a whole other story.)

I did manage to get my hands on one of the two ballets last week, and discovered to my horror that I had one week to get the tape back to the library. The ballet in question is right near the middle of the novel. It was enough motivation to kick my writing into a very aggressive schedule, and I’ll be writing the ballet’s chapter later on today as a result.

Naturally, though, I’m going to need a major break once today is over. I’m so far ahead that I’m thinking about allowing myself a few days off to recover. I might just try to wrap up this novel by the weekend, though. It’s just been a crazy ride.


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