A Quick Writing Update

It’s November, so that means that a ton of people out there are diligently working on their NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novels. While I am not actually participating in NaNoWriMo, I did start a new novel on November 1st. This novel is unlike anything I have ever written before, but is more an experiment to see if I can write this style and genre, rather than a serious effort to change my writing focus away from YA.

I’m not going to talk much about this book until a) it is done, b) it is something I would proudly associate with my name, and c) I break it to my agent that I have again done something unusual. Any, or all three, of those things may never happen.

So why write something that I may never publish? Well, first of all, I hadn’t written a new story in almost a year, and I needed to get back on that horse and prove to myself that I still could. Second, I wanted to work on a few aspects of writing that my previous novels don’t cover or do very well… mainly female characters and more dialogue-intensive story telling. Also, since I’m not working full time right now, I wanted to see just how easy of hard it was to write full time when I had no distractions, and could just plow through a novel in a very short amount of time.

A couple of discoveries:

1) I’ve maxed out at about 2600 words in a day. I know that a couple of years ago, I was able to write 3500 words a day, but even 2600 right now, on a single story, seems like a lot. My brain needs time to prep each scene before I sit down to write it, and pushing through much faster right now often leaves the story a bit jumbled and in need of a lot of editing.

2) I actually write better when I have more than one thing going on. i.e. I’ve written over four thousand words in a day a couple of days this week, but many of those were on blog entries or other editing efforts. I see that as a good sign—that when I need to in the future, I’ll be able to split time and not feel the worse for the wear.

I am, more or less, adhering to the NaNoWriMo pace of about 1666.66 words per day, but fall behind a bit on the weekends, when I spend more time with the kids. This doesn’t make me feel bad or hurried, but it does give me added incentive to keep at it when I seem stuck. I write my way out of the difficult scene, and the numbers just start to add up.

So while I am not “doing” NaNoWriMo, I am doing it. I just consider it more of a day job than a special month of the year where I finally have time to sit down and write that Great American Novel.

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