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“And why do we fall, Bruce? ”


When Bruce Wayne was a child he fell down a well.

When his father finally found him and rescued him, he asked

“And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up”

NaNoWriMo is a well I’ve fallen into.

It’s clear now that I will not have a 50,000 word first draft of a novel done by the end of November. I have 7 days left and I have written about 12,000 words. If I can make that 17,000  by the end of the month. I will count it an achievement.

I have an excuse for my relatively low output: I have a full time job that turned out to be a bit more full time than usual (I had to run a residential workshop for a week) and I was enticed by the unseasonally warm weather to go for walks with my wife rather than sit in front of my keyboard on the weekends.

I suspect that while I have a job, I will never be able to push at 1,500+ words per day.

What I’ve learnt so far is that I can have days when I push out a couple of thousand words. I think, if I had no other committments, I could do that five days a week.

I’ve also found the process of having a first draft and mentally having 50,000 words or more to write, to be very liberating.

The first draft concept means that I can write whatever is occupying my imagination today, even if it’s not the next part of the story and, although I try to nail the text on the first go, I know it will get a lot better when I go back and edit it and add the right imagery and the right continuity of action.

The 50,000 word limit means that I’ve had the time to introduce my story. 12,000 words in and I’m still setting up the characters and the action. I can see a kind of three act play structure: 15,000 or so set up, 25,00  words on the main conflict of the story, 10,000 words tieing up loose ends and setting up the possiblity for more to come.

This a scale I hadn’t contemplated before. It adds up to most of my short story output in the past 5 years. Now I see how it can be done.

I’ll carry on with NaNoWriMo. It has become my secret vice. I hope also to carry on with the novel. I’ve now reached the point where I’d really like to find out what happens next.

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