2019 Novel-Writing Challenge, Week 4


Finished up Week 4 at 22,542 words!

Pulled in different directions by dangerously cold temps, dying apartment lights, longer hours at work, and more, I found myself needing to be creative about getting my 555 words/day done. Despite that, I’m happy to say I managed to stay on track. At this time next week, I should be halfway through the word count required by NaNoWriMo to call this thing a “novel”! (I’ll celebrate with an impulsive trip to Philly to see this man).

Some thoughts from the past week:

  • I’ve found I need to learn how to embrace the sloppy skeletons or shitty first drafts. I try to remind myself: Get something down on the page first.

    Later on, I can return, add layers of detail, and flesh out character tensions. In my recent experience, it’s far easier to hone something existing than to work magic on a completely blank canvas.

  • While following relevant writers’ communities — so far, Binders Full of Women Novelists and Writers Helping Writers — I’ve seen people identifying themselves as one of two types of novelists: Planners and pantsers. I had no idea these terms existed, and that these distinctions play such a big role in shoptalk!

    As someone who’s trying to develop her plotting strengths, I’ve found it helpful to seek out practice. On my way to work, or as I complete chores or errands, I reflect on life happenings, a recent episode of my favorite TV show, or a movie, and try to map out its arc or structure in my head.

  • I’m still looking for the outlining strategy that works best for me. Looking ahead to the next week, I’m hoping to carve out a chunk of time to sit down and focus on researching different approaches. For now, I’m keeping a chronologically organized, bulleted list of plot points in a separate Google Doc.

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