The Third NaNo 2020 Progress Report (Still Learning Things)

As of Thursday 11/12:

I’m making this note to myself on Thursday 11/12, but I’m hoping there will be more good days than bad going forward.

National Novel Writing Month -

If you followed my NaNo posts last year (or two years ago?), I discovered a root to my editing being too difficult and my NaNo efforts being a struggle is in not having an outline ready before I wrote the first draft. The editing difficulties were because though I know what needs to happen, without an edited outline (plot blurbs), I don’t remember whether I’ve already added that part and so am likely to do it again. I do believe I promised myself never to set myself up for failure again.

Well, apparently, I needed that lesson renewed when there’s nothing I can do about it.

There were two reasons my NaNo writing had slowed to almost nothing this year (not that it had been great to start with). I knew part of the problem was not being able to see ahead to how the next scene would unfold. This broke down into two parts: the actual events and which of my two POVs would carry the narrative.

It added up to a case of writer’s block, which for me is almost always planner’s block. I broke through the block this morning and answered both questions, only to get slapped with the other issue of an incomplete outline.

My notes called for a specific thing to happen, which would break the chronology slightly. It should have already happened before the end of the previous scene in the other POV. But that meant breaking the previous scene in two to fix the timeline, something I didn’t want to do. Luckily, I popped back to the previous scene from the same POV. There it was, almost word for word, the same event I was trying to use as the opening to the scene I’m about to write. Oops.

Good news! I no longer have to worry about the chronology. In its original spot, it’s at the right time. Also, I have an alternate for starting the new scene that avoids an awkward “this is what happened when they got here a little while ago” paragraph.

Just frustrating that I’m repeating old errors, but at least I’m moving forward now.

And now:

I’m still not caught up, though I’m no longer as far behind as I have words. There are also more hopeful notes in my writing diary as compared to the sighs and groans of before. One way or another, winning or not, this NaNo has helped get me moving forward with the writing and thinking beyond the obstacle of getting Apprentice out to my readers. That manuscript still lies in others’ hands, but should the reports come back positive, I’ll have the drive to push the final length and get it done.

Here are some clips from my diary entries free of spoilers beyond what’s already known in a general sense for where Seeds Among the Stars is headed. Enjoy:

I remembered a short story I started about a natural, or rather about the captain’s sextant, I think. I wonder where that is and whether I finished it?

But I don’t think so.

One task I need to push myself to do is move the blurbs from the various novels into this file along with the links. Hmm, I wonder if I can import the spreadsheet page with all of that instead of doing it manually? It should be possible. Cue wasted time trying 2-3 methods, each failing for a different reason. Sigh. Manual copy over it is, but not today.

So much for the not today. I got started by copying the new blurbs for the Mad Dragon series. I really don’t know if I have enough meat to write that series yet, but it keeps poking at me. (Note: These blurbs are not added to my NaNo total because I wrote them before NaNo. Mad Dragons is the series connected to my short story published in How Beer Saved the World 2.)

11/14 NaNo Diary

One decent writing day followed by a day and a half of collapse wouldn’t have managed NaNo even if I started at the beginning rather than so far behind.

There is some hope coming, though. The next few scenes, after I get past this point, are well fleshed out in the blurb, making writing them easier, I hope. I am trying not to worry about this bridging story. It should come together and points things in the right direction for the next couple of books while offering an intriguing thought or two. It also gives a good jumping off point for the Colonist spinoff because readers might wonder what’s happened with the colony considering Trina left with things still getting settled. Once they arrive, all those traveling frozen, including her uncle, would awake expecting their colony to be the same. It’s not only Katie’s life scrambled by all of this.

I really should outline both Deluth’s side story and Katie’s mini-series so I’m ready to jump into writing them. We’ll see whether I can manage that. For now, I’m happy just making progress on Passing the Grade. I almost wish I could come up with a mini story that doesn’t click into the timeline at all. It would be good to have something to give to my fans as a thanks for their patience.

11/15 NaNo Diary

Turns out I missed the standard NaNo yesterday by a mere 33 words. This would be nothing if I were caught up. I’m not, but neither am I giving up hope. The next few scenes have been better fleshed out, and some is even written. The written won’t help me, but the parts where every detail of the scene is described in the outline should go much faster. It should also burn my brain less because I won’t have to tap into the planning part. Nice of that to fall on this day in particular. It’ll require a bit of juggling because the outline is in the text for these since it was written for last year’s NaNo, but I’ll figure it out. Yay for square brackets, right?

11/16 NaNo Diary

And finally, my stats.

Overall, I’m speeding up, but I’m still tending toward a good day, then a recovery day and a half before another decent day. On top of all the writing stuff, I’m learning how to work with my disability better. For example, I used to get 1000-1800 words per writing session. Now, if I push beyond 250-500, that’s it for the day. It’s a process, and I’m not there yet, but the more I learn, the better I’ll be once NaNo is complete.

How about you? Do you use NaNo for a learning process or just a mad scramble for words? If the first, are you willing to share something you’ve learned? I figure for everyone who learns something, there are others who are still working on that puzzle who might find your answer useful.

This entry was posted in Challenges, Goals, NaNoWriMo, News, Outlining, Writing Process and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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