Before I started NaNoWriMo I was more than a little apprehensive. I had no idea what was involved, what I might require of myself. I knew that it was up to me, but I really didn’t want to sign up again for something that was way beyond my personal limitations. Boy, was I wrong! And most importantly not only were my perceptions of NaNoWriMo erroneous, but I was wrong about myself!

Nine days into NaNoWriMo and my word count has far exceeded my own expectations. Yes, it’s a rough draft, and yes it’s going to take a whole lot of work to revise and edit it into something even remotely publishable. But the ground work is being dug, the seeds are being sown; heck some of them have even bloomed (a paragraph here and there!).

My writing day has a structure now. After the school run, when I return to a quiet and peaceful house, I turn on my lap top, have a quick look over the previous day’s story development, and then I type in whatever day it is, have a peep at the clock and away I go. And oh how exhilarating the trip is. The next time I raise my head, usually I discover an hour or more has passed. I have learned that I can write approximately 1,000 words in an hour. Doubtless this is slow, but it is good enough for me.

Such an output allows me to consider what ground my plot needs to incorporate into my story, where my characters ought to be on their relevant transformational arcs, and the direction they possibly need to be headed in. All of this structural information is held on to lightly, functioning as a kind of northern star, offering just enough for now to keep me more or less on course for the novel I am writing. Later, when I have completed my first draft, I shall return to my guidelines and revise my manuscript in light of these self same arcs and outlines.

Then when my writing is done for the day, or at least my word count completed, I update my details on my profile on the NaNoWriMo site, and check out some of my favourite writing blogs.

Below are a couple of the recent blog posts I’ve read which have helped me enormously to gain some sort of stronghold on my unwieldy story line.

As usual my heroine is Sally Quilford who is teaching me about the intricacies of writing pocket novels through her series of excellent blog posts.

Jami Gold’s blog offers numerous ‘cheat sheets’. Start here.

The learning curve I am traversing as I write my way through NaNoWriMo is akin, in my humble opinion, to taking a course on novel writing. And the month isn’t over yet! So much more to learn, so much more to enjoy! Hope you are all having as much fun as I am this November.

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