NaNoWriMo 2021 – First Friday Check In

We’re five days into National Novel Writing Month, and while I was unsure at first if I would even indulge this year, the craziness that has been my last few weeks has lent itself perfectly to taking up the challenge once again, so here we are!

I’m working on a sword and sorcery romcom featuring a soft enemies to lovers trope and a little harder grumpy x sunshine pairing. Yes, I am learning what the cliches are called and fully embracing them if not totally writing to market. I might not meet all the criteria for these things because I insist on writing the stories that I want to write, but if the story I want to write happens to utilize those tropes, then hell yeah I’m going to let potential readers know about it. It’s also a standalone novel that I hope to publish in early 2022, so it’s sort of this easy, little thing that will give me a boost of confidence in the whole “getting finished” with things camp.

I’m pleased with my progress, sitting very comfortably at 13,183 total new words for the month so far. That’s just about three days ahead of schedule, and right now I’m in the early act two bits. I already had about 17k written that took me through act one.

I’m mostly doing 15 minute sprints, though interruptions sometimes cut them short or just chop them up too much, so I’ll just record wherever I am and restart. You can see I’m averaging around 400-450 words per sprint which is sort of my old par. I don’t know that I’ll ever get to Chris Fox’s 5000 words an hour, even with an extremely tight outline like I have now, but man alive this outline is a godsend! It’s keeping me going, and contrary to what a lot of people believe about plotting, it’s actually allowing me to be more creative by not getting hung up on what’s happening. Instead, I can devote more brain power to how things happen.

Of course, there’s plenty of nonsense in this draft too. Sometimes the draft is just an expanded outline. Like, I’ll write something up like this:

“Shh,” he hissed, leaning closer to her, but her struggle persisted, and she scuffed a foot against the wall. Strange, scaring her was apparently not the way to get what he wanted despite that it usually worked on others. He couldn’t shout either, that would bring the werewolves right to them. Well, that was him, out of options. Except, of course, something even more disgraceful.

I need to ultimately say what this paragraph conveys, showing the reader what’s happening, and I need the reader to be in Damien’s head and work through this confusion with him in a tense, high-stakes moment. I also need the comedy of the last couple lines, to say, “well, if I can’t be a dick about this, I got nothing, except I guess something worse,” which, in the next paragraph, turns out to be Damien actually having to be kind–gods forbid.

All that being said, I’m not crazy about the paragraph. I just don’t like how it sounds, and while I might like it–or parts of it–much later, right now it is serving its purpose. It’s better than an outline where, if I’m lucky, I might have said, “Damien has an internal struggle here at how to handle this,” but it’s not close enough to a final draft. I mean, of course not, it’s a first draft! But it’s also a NaNo draft which is a lot of word vomit.

But future months are for editing, so for now, more words!

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