Nanowrimo 2016 Update #3

Yesterday my word count was 10,305. I’m caught up, assuming I meet my goal today. Unfortunately, I haven’t written anything today and I’m not sure if I will or not. I encountered a problem I’ve never had, not only during Nanowrimo but with writing in general. My story is finished, except it’s not.

Let me explain, since I know that sounds odd. I thought I was prepared enough to write this story but apparently I wasn’t. All the major scenes were planned out. I wrote scene cards and pinned them on a cork board and was confident I knew how to get from beginning to end.

I did. I wrote every one of those scenes. The problem is, with only a couple of exceptions, I only wrote those scenes. Normally, I start with my opener and the first few scenes. Then, if I’m lucky, some magic happens between the first sequence and the next, or even between those first scenes. Call it filler if you will, or transitions, or whatever. It didn’t happen this time. This story reads like a 100 meter dash instead of the marathon it needs to be!

This could mean several things. It could simply indicate this shouldn’t be a novel length story, but I don’t think so. It could mean I am not as interested in the story as I believed. Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be. Perhaps this novel needs a lot more planning than previous ones, or less. It’s changed a lot since I first conceived it, so it could be it changed so much my muse doesn’t understand it anymore.

I don’t know what the problem is, so I don’t know how to proceed. Some of what’s missing is what I call padding. I write very little description in a first draft, unless it directly impacts the characters. I have several scenes where I’ve fleshed out the setting a lot and others that only say ‘forest’, ‘town square’, ‘grocery store’, etc.’ I haven’t taken the time to describe either main character or any of the lesser but important ones. I did spend some time on the villain though. I figure I know what they look like so I can just get the story out and add that stuff later.

If I go in and add all the items listed above, I would still only have about 15,000 – 20,000 words. I need to take some time to figure out what happens in between the crucial scenes. Therein lies my biggest problem. I’m doing Nanowrimo. I don’t have time to flesh out a story I thought I understood and still write 50k words.

So today, I’m taking some time to think and make decisions. Do I set aside this story and pick up something else so I can get the word count? I’ve done this before, every year I’ve participated actually. It seems to be my pattern. Or, do I take the time to work on a story I believe has massive potential and give up on Nanowrimo? I can’t do both.

Either choice is appealing to me equally. I will hate making this decision. I honestly don’t know what I should do.

I’ll post another update when I figure it out.



  1. This is my first NaNoWriMo and I’m way behind. I had such good intentions but have been so tired and busy. I haven’t had time to do any hobby related stuff for days. I haven’t even turned my computer on since Friday…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If I were you, which, of course, I’m not, I’d ask myself two questions. Can I think up another story to use with NaNo? How much am I into this story where I’ve finished the 1st draft? If my creativity is running crazy and I feel compelled to finish NaNo, I’ll come up with the story to write. If my muse makes me think about the story I’ve written, not leaving me alone, I’d dump NaNo.

    But I’m not you, like I said. I have a tendency to have a one-track mind, which is probably the major reason why I don’t do NaNo. Right now I’m writing in my WiP, and until I’m finished with it or run completely out of steam, I wouldn’t even dream of doing anything else.


  3. Aargh I feel your pain. Last year I had the same problem. But then I gave myself a day off and thought about the story I was trying to write. I’m a planner not a pantser. I can’t make it up as I go along in other words. I can, though, take a break and think about the sort of stuff I’d be adding if it wasn’t a very rough first draft. Then I added it.
    That got me through last year so I ended with just over 51k words.
    This year, new story, I’m on 30k so far. I’ve also got a three part series under my belt so, I guess, I feel a bit more confident about my ability to go the whole way.
    I’m with Kristi on this one though. You’re a winner no matter what with NaNo. Maybe your story is meant to be a short story, not a full length novel. Only you can answer that though – it’s your novel and I know you’re already a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

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