NaNoWriMo 2017: Halfway

It is the middle of November, halfway through National Novel Writing Month. Time for an update on where things stand with this act of narrative exorcism.


When November started (or at least during the first day!) I had 25 chapter outlines for the new story, aiming for 50,000 words with roughly 2k in each chapter. I also was aiming to spend an hour a day on revision of the WIP.


The numbers are interesting. As I write this, I have:

  • used fifteen days (50%)
  • generated 30,000 words (60%)
  • completed 11/28 chapters (40%)
  • spent about an hour on Song revision

Obviously the Song revision has suffered here. Unfortunately, I think I was wrong about being able to revise one thing while generating words on another. The impedance mismatch between the two activities is too great, and although I successfully wrote two books a couple of years ago I was generating words on both of them. Switching to editing my other book has been hard to make my brain want to do.

It might have gone better if I had switched from one activity to the other day by day, as I did during the year of two books when I was alternating chapters, rather than trying to do the revision work after the generative word count was done. Slicing time too finely is a really good recipe for getting nothing done, at least for me.

Another major factor is that this is only the second day in November when I have felt creative, and even that feeling was evanescent. I’ve had a couple of colds which have destroyed my ability to apply creative processes to non-paying work. That’s really killed anything outside of core stream-of-consciousness word mining.

The good new is I do feel better, so maybe I can get to some revision in earnest soon.

The chapter completion rate is also troubling, both because I’ve added chapters and because I’ve covered only 40% of the plot.

So where will I be when I finish the story?

What’s Left

I’m going to ignore the Song revision for these purposes. If I get back to it I will be happy, but I don’t expect to make significant progress until December now.

The story, though:

  • if I write at my current rate, I will have 60k by the end of the month
  • my current average words per chapter is about 2.5k, so if I keep packing the words in at that pace the book would be about 72k in length (assuming I don’t add any more amoeba chapters in)

In other words, the book I apparently want to write is at least 20% longer than my current November pace would support. What this tells me is that I need to do one of three things:

  1. keep the word mines open for a week in December
  2. write faster (basically up to about 3k a day)
  3. write less (ie trim the plot to fit the time, so cut six chapters)

I don’t think writing much faster is in the cards this year, not with still being drained from illness, and although the traditional NaNoWriMo advice is to finish a story in the month I think I am going to try and keep the word mines open into December. We’ll see how that goes.

Still, I should be well on my way to my fourteenth win.

Back to the word mines!

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