Checking In: Approaching the Finish Line…

25 Nov

Wow! Can you all believe that we’re coming up on the final weekend of November? For those of you in the US, we hope that you’ve enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday. For everyone else, hopefully this week has gone well for you!

The aforementioned Lauren Garafalo (@laurengarafalo), queen of the sprintysprinters, will be hosting a series of wordsprints this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for anyone who wants a chance to squeeze in some extra writing time. Watch the #ROW80 hashtag on Twitter for more announcements.

Mini-Mashup of Awesome

Carrie Mumford talks about three things you should try before you quit NaNo and even though we are closing in on the finish line there might be people who are considering quitting altogether.

The Novel Doctor offers some tips on how to increase your word count – very useful!

Over at WriMos FTW!, Angela Goff has a great list of quick fixes for plot problems.

Checking In

Em’s Update

Well things have taken an interesting turn tonight. I have finished my story. In 47,627 words. I literally have just written my last scene and I have finished. My murderer has been found out by my delicious detective and I am done. Oh I know, I need to write ‘The End’. Then I will be up to 47,629 words. Eeek! I am not going to panic or worry. I will find those words somewhere. I have looked at the suggestions of the Novel Doctor (link above) and am considering some of them. But I don’t want to add words for adding sake.

Some of my ideas are:

  • add in bits from the killers point of view between chapters. I thought about this before but not sure how well it would work.
  • include interrogations of some of the other guests/staff which I summarised so we weren’t hearing the same story over and over.
  • look at my descriptions and see if they can be expanded on.
  • look at my dialogue and see if I can expand on conversations/give some people more lines.

Anyone got any suggestions?! I don’t want to add in a new character at this late stage to mess things up and I am scared of reading through everything in case I end up deleting more than I add. I suppose if I am firm with myself I could simply read and add as I go. That is an option.

As I said, I am not going to panic. I am not going to be able to write tomorrow as I have plans (for the first day since NaNo began!) so I am hoping the little bit of distance will help. I will scribble any ideas down and start afresh on saturday to see what I can do. I am not going to panic but I am also not going to stop below 50,000 words. I knew I was writing a shorter Agatha Christie style novella from quite early on and I am sure the nature of NaNo has propelled me forwards through my story quicker than if I was writing normally but I want to win NaNo. I have worked too hard not to have a halo! I am glad I have some days to think this through and to add in words where they add to the story, not just for adding sake.

Lena’s Update

As I write this, I am pleasantly full from tasty candied yams, cheesy mashed potatoes, stuffing, and, of course, turkey. I’m a little sad because my beloved San Francisco 49ers lost today’s football game against the Baltimore Ravens — not that I’m a huge sports fan, mind you, but I take an interest based on a sense of hometown spirit.

Anyway, writing! Somewhere along the way, the stress that produced my Week 2 block has melted away, and I am slightly ahead of schedule with 45,0001 words. With less that 5k left to go, I find that I’m a little sad to reach that 50k finish line. I’m even dragging my feet a little, even though I know that the story will be far from finished. This has been an intense process (understatement of the year), and NaNo has given me the excuse to get up and personal with this story in ways that I haven’t before.

I’ve abandoned all hope of writing in a linear fashion, which means that I have a sprawling, untidy middle; the first forays into my final act; and, as of Monday, the drabbles of a beginning. This opening is far different from the original 25k I wrote back in June. Liandre, my MC, has a much stronger voice, and she’s become much more mature as well. In the original, she spent most of her time crying (for good reason, of course, as her father had just died and she was informed that everything she knew about her identity was a lie) and being rather passive. Now, she’s pragmatic and resourceful, a resilient young woman who is doing all that she can to adjust to a world that is rapidly changing.

In spite of everything that’s missing in this novel (er, a system of magic? The romance subplot? Lots of dialogue and description and pivotal plot points?), I think my biggest victory lies in getting to know Liandre better. Taking a chance and writing in the first person has allowed me greater intimacy in learning her voice, and in tapping into who she is. Seeing these various worlds through her eyes is an adventure and a treat for me as a writer. I can only hope that one day this will be polished enough, and good enough, that other readers might feel the same.

How’s everyone else doing?

On your way to reaching 50k? Even if you doubt that you’ll make the “finish line” by the end of the month, we encourage you to keep writing — remember, this is about the process just as much as the final product.

-Em and Lena

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4 Responses to “Checking In: Approaching the Finish Line…”

  1. carrie m November 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Thanks so much for including my post! I love hearing about others’ NaNo journeys, so thank you for sharing yours 🙂 I wish you luck as you work to finish your novels this weekend.

  2. Lauren Garafalo November 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Hi Everyone 😀 For all of you that celebrate it, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m at 42,787 before I get started today! This past week has been the busiest yet in all areas of life. Work is taking over for some odd reason that I’m not really sure of. Especially since it’s pretty much the slower season now. Life stuff is multiplying and then there are the holidays. I thought that the increased busy would be making me nuts, but it’s not as bad as I expected. I still look forward to working on NaNo at lunch and at the end of every day. It’s definitely not as easy as it was in the beginning, but it’s still exciting!! Something funny that I noticed is that I am exhausted when trying to speak with people in real life LOL. I put so much energy into words in the NaNo project and to ROW checks-ins, etc. that I have none left for other conversations. I’ve never not wanted to talk hahaha, so this is all new for me. Hope you’re all having a fantastic week, and good luck with the LAST 5 DAYS!!!! Remember to watch the ROW80 hashtag for sprints today and through the weekend…especially if you need an end of NaNo boost! Onwards to 50K!!!

  3. Robin McCormack November 26, 2011 at 2:51 am #

    I’m at 44k and plugging away. We had a wonderful thanksgiving. Stayed at home and relaxed. Well hubby and son relaxed while I wrote all day. They demanded a bit of time today, so gave it to them. Will write like crazy, type up my scribblings, lather, rinse and repeat for the remaining days. Pretty sure i’ll make it and quite proud that this year I’ve added no filler. It’s all story and not any of that extra junk like not doing contractions. Keeping the voices in tact so don’t mess myself up later. No contractions makes everyone stilted and I loose my view of the characters. Time for dinner – leftovers of course. Have a great weekend.

  4. amy kennedy November 26, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    2373 words. That is all you need Em, I think you’ve got it with the killer’s thoughts between chapters — you’ll never know how it works out until you do it.

    Lena, I can feel your excitement — I love writing in 1st person, it all seems to flow better…until it doesn’t.

    Your mini mash-up has inspired me to NOT quit nano. I won’t “win,” but I’m excited to keep going — Thank you!

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