Why Stop At Winning?

Camp NaNo has been proceeding well and as you might have guessed from the title of this post, I’ve won. Actually, I won back on July 19th, but I hadn’t gotten around to posting about it for a number of reasons.

For one thing, the story isn’t done. I know, really shocking, that at 50k words, I do not have a complete novel or story. 😉

I certainly don’t write novels that short and I’ve seen enough tweets from agents about queries and word count to know they consider that far too short in most cases. Length expectations do vary by genre but mostly novels are expected to be longer than 50k words.

With this novel, Vintage, I’m certainly not worried about running out of story before I reach a good novel-sized manuscript, especially not with the way things have been going. I hit 60k yesterday, and there’s still lots to do. I had a couple twists pop up in what I’ve already written that added good things to the story, so I went with them and the extra length it will have added to the story.

And I have another of those coming up in a few chapters, one that will take my MC away from the places he knows. What’s a bit unnerving to me is that I don’t yet know how long he’ll be there. I know he has to return from there before the end of the book, but I’m not sure when that will happen. I’m hoping this book will remain at or under 100k words, but if he’s in that other place too long, all bets are off. I think there’s enough to pull him back to where he needs to be though that he won’t be too long. I hope.

I really should introduce you guys to Eben at some point. Maybe another post on another day, I’ll talk all about him. Maybe one for Dametri too.

I think I’d forgotten how writing, working on it every day, gets my plot brain active in all directions. I’ve had a couple of really good story ideas pop up in the last week or so. The one this morning came from a writing prompt:

“I was sentenced to die”

My brain, being the strange creature it is, supplied the other half of the sentence as “But I didn’t mind.” Then this character kept unrolling what I think might be more of a prologue or pre-writing and I kept writing it down.

The other really good one, which I want to pursue pretty badly, came up very early this week as just a scrap and some exploratory questions. This is how I often treat new ideas that feel like they have a lot of potential but don’t have much substance yet. I ask questions about who the characters are, what they want, what they’re prepared to do. Things like that. Anyway, a couple days ago, I was in a meeting and suddenly the main character had stuff to say. A lot of stuff to say. Like the first chapter. Well, not all of it, but the first 1k words of it. I wrote it all by hand because that’s what I had handy and typed it up when I got home.

It’s wonderful to do that and find you like it even more when not in the midst of writing it. I’ve got a lot of figuring to do before it’ll be ready to write, but man, that was a fun, good feeling

About Julie

I'm a writer and photographer. I always have something with me to take notes for ideas or writing projects I'm thinking about or have on the go. I also like to go around with my camera and take pictures of anything that strikes me as beautiful or evocative. I'm perpetually working on one story or another, while waiting for enough distance to judge the last one (or more). I'm always working on several projects at once, developing the next book, even as I'm editing the last. Beyond that, there's always plenty of scraps and twists of ideas rolling around in my head, eventually turning themselves into full blown stories.
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