NaNoWriMo Day 7 – The First Pancake

The first week of NaNoWriMo is coming to a close and I honestly can’t believe I made it this far. I’m pretty sure that writing these posts is what’s made me keep going. I feel accountable to my readers, even though I don’t know any of you in real life, and most of you probably don’t care too much whether I finish a novel or not. So thanks for reading. Because without you, there’s a pretty good chance I’d be trying very hard to ignore the fact that my word count was somewhere around 500 and I hadn’t touched my novel since November 2nd. Right now, I’m just shy of 13,000 words, and I’ve been writing every day this week. And that’s all thanks to you! (I promise to take full credit if this book sucks.)

Early on in the week, I was having some trouble with pacing in my novel. Maybe it’s just because I was getting used to the characters or the style or whatever. But the first few chapters are woefully short. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if you want to write a novel full of single-paragraph chapters, I say go for it – but, in this case, I feel like they’re short given their content. They seem forced, and, I’ll be honest, they’re not that great. I’m calling it first-pancake syndrome (because I watch way too much Gilmore Girls for my own good). You always throw the first pancake away. I’m not sure if I’m going to scrap the entire first chapter, but the more I write elsewhere in the novel, the less happy I am with it. I’m currently in the process of finishing up chapter seven, and I am really tempted to re-tool the first five chapters before I move on (six and seven are pretty solid). I’d still be adding to my word count, because they really need to be extended, but I’m a bit torn because it could totally backfire on me. Going back through them might make me feel more comfortable going forward. And there’s kind of a noticeable change right smack dab in the middle of my book, and I’m worried about hitting it too early at this point. But I also feel like I’m running the risk of being sucked into an editing vortex, and ending up with a few polished chapters, but not a whole book. (I just made an extremely whiny noise at my desk, which I’m glad you couldn’t hear.) This is really difficult. If you’ve participated in NaNo before, or written a novel: what do you think? Should I spend a day lengthening a few of the chapters I already have in the hopes of having more material to go off of for the rest of the novel, or just move on and worry about it later?

I was planning on participating in Double Up Day today, and writing like mad in an attempt to double up my word count. Which would have been awesome, except what I thought was just a cold is definitely the flu. And now I feel like crap. I literally had to turn the brightness on my computer all the way down so I can look at the screen without my head throbbing. I’ve traded in coffee for tea, and real food for ginger ale and saltines. And I’ve spent the entire day alternately taking on and off my sweatshirt and socks. So much fun! But I’m still determined to meet my word count goal for today – yesterday was the first day I didn’t quite make it because I ended up babysitting (getting kicked in the face and being told I’m mean was a nice change from writing all night). I’m still ahead, so I’m not too stressed about it, but I don’t want to lose my momentum or get behind.

So that’s my update for today. Basically, I’m dying and most of my novel is terrible. And if you couldn’t tell, I’m feeling overly dramatic and super sarcastic. But really, despite having a bunch of really unexpected problems this week, I think week one was a success! I’m just thankful that this is the only weekend all term I don’t have a paper due, so I have one less thing to worry about.

Let me know how your novel is coming in the comments!

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