We’re now in week 3 of National Novel Writing Month. Hopefully it will go better than the previous week.
In the NaNoWriMo community, Week 2 is generally considered the time when productivity slows or hits a wall. The feeling of hopelessness often kicks in, and that nagging feeling of “there’s no way you can keep this up! You’re so far from your goals!” starts gnawing at the back of your mind. The dreaded Inner Editor finishes chewing out of the leather straps you used to restrain it, and gets to work convincing you that the words you do have down are terrible and you’d be better off without them.
I am not immune to this feeling.
My week had a great start. Despite being behind on the daily word count (to stay on track, writers try to add about 1,667 words a day) by over 10 thousand words, I pulled off an amazing sprint thanks to high doses of caffeine and the BICFOK (Butt in chair, fingers on keys) method. My end of day total was close to 7 thousand words. I’ve pulled off 5K days in the past, but this was a new record for me. I’m still impressed with my progress.
After that day? Nothing. I’ve added maybe a few hundred words since then. At the time of this writing I’m still hovering around 15 thousand words, and although I love all of them, I wish there were more. But after that sprint I’ve been feeling mentally drained. Not only that, given the fact that I didn’t plan as much as I’m used to before writing, I’m a bit lost as to where the plot should go from my current state. I’m not sure yet if I’m not wired for “pantsing” through novels or just not used to the method.
It wasn’t all bad. What little progress I have made all but cemented the structure that the novel will have upon completion. Not unlike Jasper, the story will have three distinct parts. Part 1 focuses on the plague and its destruction of social order in Sunforge, ending with a wedding for the two protagonists that doesn’t quite go as planned. It will establish the characters and their places in society, create the bleak atmosphere and establish the basic social/economic structure of the city. The latter is more important for future installments, because I am considering expanding this story into a series. Part 2 deals with the aftermath of the plague once it finishes off the population. The survivors are then left to deal with vengeful spirits. Part 3 kicks in once the characters survive the ghosts and discover the true culprits behind the plague.
I’ve also made some progress into fleshing out the main group of antagonists. Many Sunforge citizens, accepting that they are facing their death and believing that Shipwreck Islanders are the cause, begin acting out of revenge to commit violent acts up to and including murder on the refugees. Foreman Zander manages to recruit members of the lower class hardest hit by plague to aid in his “cause.” It’s not a case of “get them before they get us,” but “get them because they got us.”
That’s how my week was, writing wise. I’d cross my fingers in hope that this week will show better progress, but that makes it difficult to write.