I Hereby Foreswear NaNoWriMo

I’ve finished NaNoWriMo for this year, and possibly for good. The 81,000 words were done in nine days. For the first five days I did 10,000 words a day, but was able to slow to a more relaxed 8,000 a day after passing the 50,000 word goal.

I think it’s the deadline that does it for me. There’s this urgent need to finish. I get it when doing a first draft anyway, but have forced myself to slow down a bit recently. Not that the urge ever completely vanishes.

I’ve wondered whether it’s a desperation to achieve something, given my lack of any kind of success so far. But I don’t feel anywhere near the same urgency during the revision process. There’s a desire to get through it, and eventually to be rid of the thing so I can get on to the new, but never the same fevered intensity.

Since I don’t really need NaNoWriMo to prompt me to write now, I think it may have offered me all it can. And the increased stress and anxiety I feel from it may just make the writing process less enjoyable (though much such enjoyment tends to be retrospective).

So I hereby swear off doing NaNoWriMo again.

 

Results

The book (sequel to The Border Guard, which is currently submitted to an agent – 1 initially, with a few more I’ve started researching next in line) is written, at least. It still needs a lot of work. Chapter 3 is way too sparse, so that needs something else. I need to insert a chapter so the POV character has actual interaction with another character before the first scene they get together here, in order for that to really work without relying on the reader having read and remembering their interactions in the first book.

I also realised one of the plot strands left in the first book doesn’t have any attention here, so I need to work out whether it will play a role, or whether to exorcise it from the first book.

More worryingly is that one of the overall themes (probably not the word I want) of the first book isn’t as prevalent here. I can’t tell if that’s a problem yet, and may need some distance to properly judge. Overall I’m relatively happy with some bits of the story, so I don’t want to have to do a complete rewrite.

So now I’m trying to decide whether to focus on working out what needs to change in this one (after some time away from it), or start outlining the third (and final) book, to get a proper overview of what things need to be. But will the outline fix the current structure of the second book in my head, or will it show me what it needs to be?