MOPNoWriMo Day 1: In the Beginning (30/1/2012)

a.k.a. My Own Personal Novel Writing Month.

While (a tiny fraction of) the rest of the world observed national Novel Writing Month back in November, I was in the middle of a stack of rewrites for Dragon Queen. It was pretty cool watching lots of people racking up their wordcounts and a bit sad watching the agony for others as they found they simply couldn’t do what they’d hoped they could.

My situation is probably a little different to most of yours. Over the next month, I am aiming to write the first draft of a novel I shall call Chromium for now (working title). This is my day-job, my profession. I have about four weeks to knock up a usable first draft of a 100k word novel (bit of a packed schedule in the first half of this year). To be honest, I expect to fail and be content if it takes six weeks rather than four. Over the next month, I plan to give a day-by-day progress report along with hints, tips and the occasional rant and pulling-out of hair. I hope this might be either vaguely useful, informative or amusing, but I guess I won’t know that until I can look back on it from the other end. So here goes:

Some entries may be rather terse, as there might not be much time left in the day for the blog! Also, checking for typos and other errors may be, ah… minimal.

Day one: Target wordcount: 5000. Words written: 4300

Failure on the first day. During NaNoWriMo, I’ve seen people get despondent about this, when they get behind their wordcount target. Don’t let the wordcount rule your life. Yes, maybe you need one as a guide if you aim to write x-thousand words in Y days. But the muse comes as the muse comes and so does all sorts of other shit. You need to allow for that. I’ll say some more tomorrow about planning and knowing how much time you have in the day and how that translates into words. I had a bad night last night, felt grotty all day and spent an hour playing Skyrim when I could have been writing, and that probably made the different. And I don’t feel bad about it at all :-p

Today’s output: One full chapter and two half-chapters in which the principle characters talk at each other about what’s going on, what happened in the last book and some more about what’s going on. This was a really dialogue heavy day and it’s all pretty bland stuff. Today’s scenes have a fair amount of recapping of the previous book in the series (this being the second of three), too much talking and about as much atmosphere as the inside of a synthetic duvet. In short, they’re a bit crap and if I read this aloud, I’d be bored. I’ll say more about what a first draft is and isn’t and how extensive rewrites can be as this progresses; for now, for the early stages of a first draft, I’m OK with this – more than anything, what I want is for the characters to start having clear voices of their own, and for that a lot of talking is good. When the rewrites come along, I expect the dialogue to be pruned heavily and a great deal more atmosphere to be added to the locations.


One Response to “MOPNoWriMo Day 1: In the Beginning (30/1/2012)”

  1. mdlachlan says:

    A good discipline Steve. I ghost write some novels and aim for a month. Six weeks is more realistic. And, with me it’s a cheating six weeks because I do a week of research first. I find no problem in hitting 5000 words for the first two weeks but it means 12 hour days and my wife asks me to come down to 3000 because I become bad tempered. There’s something to be said for it, though because momentum in writing is really important. Good luck – be following your blog with interest. For the record, though, my old synthetic duvet had the sort of atmosphere that would register ‘hostile to life’ on the tricorder.

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