I just passed the halfway point for NaNoWriMo 2022, and as with the previous week, so far so good. I’ve been able to meet or slightly exceed my personal objective of at least 2,000 words per day, and I’ve managed to write over 37,000 words so far. My story continues to grow, and I’m making notes to review when I go back to edit. The NaNoWriMo tool for tracking writing history and word counts estimates I’ll hit 50,000 words by the 21st. The actual first draft will certainly be a lot longer than that, and while I will probably stop trying to write every single day (maybe take a break on weekends), the work doesn’t stop at 50,000 words.
Just Write Something
For now, I’m focused on just getting something out, even though I know it needs a lot of work. The point is to get the first draft, rough as it will be, down. I have a bunch of ideas on how I want to mold and shape the finished story, and I’m making sure to write those down so I don’t forget. My main character has also transformed some, and some of the supporting cast are now getting their own stories, their own perspectives. They still don’t have enough of a unique voice. Their words and dialog are rather generic. But I feel good about having something to build on.
The story itself is growing deeper and more complex, more nuanced in a way. I feel pretty good about where it is, and where I think it will go.
The Writer’s Assistant
I’m glad I started working on an app I’m calling Writer’s Assistant. I’m using it as a way to collect some tools that will be useful to me for writing science fiction. I do expect that some of the features will eventually (and hopefully) be useful for other genres. I’ll also be adding to it as I find new features I think will help me or other writers. I haven’t decided if I’m going to charge for the app or give it away for free, assuming it goes on the Mac App Store at all.
The main feature I’m using is one that generates random strings of vowels and consonants (using simple, configurable rules) to help generate names for characters. There are other features that will follow, but having something that I can use to generate names that aren’t variants of “Bob” and “Jane”, to give the story a truly other-worldly vibe, has allowed me to focus on the story, instead of spending time trying to dream up names (and making sure they don’t all start with “Z” or some other pattern).
The Work Carries On
I’m going to keep on keeping on. I haven’t hit any bumps, or found myself stuck, and for that I consider myself fortunate. It helps that I have a sense of the story I want to tell, and that’s the planning side of me. But I keep my ‘plan’ just open-ended enough that the ‘seat of the pants’ writer can still blossom. I’m definitely in the middle of the “planner” vs. “panster” debate (which I had never heard of until I started this thing). This works for me. Other approaches work for other people. You do you. I’m going to carry on, happy with my approach so far.