Monday, November 16, 2009

Nanowrimo second half: Play Dirty!

Yesterday was the 15th day of Nanowrimo. The half way point. If you have kept up with the daily target of 1667 words a day, you hit 25K yesterday. Twenty-five-thousand words. That's an awful lot! Hope you took the time to celebrate, and give yourself a reward for all the hard work you've put in.

Now... We're at the second half. And this is where you get to play dirty.

The middle, as I'm sure many Nanowrimo-writers will tell you, is a tough part. Usually you know exactly what will happen in the beginning, you have your ending figured out, but that middle bit is where it gets difficult. Things don't always work out the way you had planned, characters end up not behaving like you wanted them to, like they have a mind of their own.

As frustrating as that may seem, keep in mind that you must not (NOT!!) edit anything. Don't read back what you wrote, don't edit. Instead, keep a notebook next to you and write down things that you should have a look at in your edit. For example, I started my story off by calling one of my characters Joe. Ten chapters in, suddenly he was Jim, which suits him much better. So I wrote down: 'From Chapter 1: Joey = Jim'. So when (if) I edit this story, I know that the first few chapters I have to change that name.
Another example; my character just killed off a poor innocent woman, while wearing a suit. This morning when I took a shower, I suddenly thought, hang on, if the blood was splattered all over the wall, surely his suit would get dirty too. How will my character deal with this? Does he either not care, or does he need a change of clothes in my rewrite? In which case, he will need a bag or a briefcase of some kind in which he carries a fresh set of clothes. So I wrote that down in my notes, but I may even start my writing session tonight as if he had that bag with him the whole time, and make sure that in my rewrite I mention it as he walks towards this poor lady's house.

As far as playing dirty goes, word count means everything in this second half. The first half was difficult enough, and now you have to do the same amount of words again. So take your character shopping and have them decide what to have for dinner. Let your character dream or daydream, even if it has nothing to do with your story. Write flash backs, let your characters explain their story to other people.

My story, about a man killing people like the Big Bad Wolf does in fairy tales, I thought called for a scene in a classroom where the teacher reads out the Little Red Ridinghood story. And as we all know, children's stories are very repetitive. I think I must have written out 'Little Red Ridinghood' at least ten times in that scene. That's 20 words more than if I had used a name or 'she'.

As far as my Nanowrimo goes, I'm slightly ahead of schedule. I will start my writing session today at 32550. But, there have been 3 days where I wrote less than 1667 words, and one day where I wrote absolutely nothing. It can be done! It just means that on other days you have to write more than 1667 words a day.

Anyway, I hope everyone is enjoying the challenge. Keep up the great work!


  1. thanks eveline for your comments and recommendations (aanbevelingen) i find it quite hard at the moment to go on but it helps me that i write a side story, a kind of diary, in which i can put a lot of remarks. see my novel info

  2. I've been bad since Tuesday so now I'm behind - thanks for motivating me! <3

  3. I haven't written a word during the weekend and today (Monday) I only got 670 words in.. That means I have to write a LOT tomorrow... Well I'm still behind, but I'd like this thing finished! ;)