NaNo Update: My Fingers are Burning

Fuck. Writing 12 days in a row is hard. Writing for another 18 seems impossible. On day 11 of NaNoWriMo, I had written 18,688 words, slightly over the 18,333-word par. Then I started falling behind for the first time this month. I didn’t like my story, I felt like I was writing boring garbage, and I was not in the mood to continue. I didn’t write at all yesterday.

Fortunately, I feel a little more invigorated today, writing over 2,000 words so far. My official word count sits at 21,474, still below today’s par of 23,333, but not terribly. I plan to write another 1,000 or so tonight, and then I have another long day tomorrow to get back on top of my word count. Tomorrow is the halfway point: 25,000 words. I want to be back on track before Monday.

I’ve discovered one of my personal mechanisms for dealing with boring scenes; I have my characters meet new people. Sometimes they just meet randoms along the road, have a short conversation, and then move on their way. Sometimes, the new characters play an active role in the narrative. I used this mechanism just in the last hour, actually, to make my protagonists meet two strangers sharing a table with them in a small village tavern. Then I thought of a way to integrate these two strangers further into the story, so now I’m excited by their appearance.

As much as chance encounters can come off as too easy or coincidental in writing, that’s sort of how life works in general. I started dating my fiancee after we ran into each other in a college bar that I only went to on a whim. Jessie and I met in a restaurant because it was the first place that hired me after I finished grad school. My and the future wife’s dog literally walked into our lives on top of a mountain in Pennsylvania, a runaway/abandoned pup looking for a home. (Future wife… that’s weird to say out loud, or… write out loud).

Chance encounters and unexpected moments seem to have defined my life quite heavily actually. So why shouldn’t they define the lives of my characters? Just some food for thought.

Anyway, it’s been a bit of a slog the last few days. I fully anticipated a burnout in week 2. I just didn’t prepare well for it. I’m confident I can fight back. My overall goal for week 3 is to get my daily minimum requirement down to the 1,000-word range, making the every-day churn a little less daunting.

Tell me a story of one of your chance encounters that came to impact your life greatly. Or write about it.

Steve D

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