Weekly Writing Update: December Week 1 (NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up)

(Before I get into this long update, one last time for 2018, be sure to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already: 2019 – December 1st It’s also the very last NaNoToon ever!)

NaNoWriMo is over, and boy what a month it was. I spent pretty much all of my free time in November either writing for NaNoWriMo or working on “Pithea” for its upcoming release. Still, I came out on the other side with 82,750 words and, more importantly, a finished draft! This book will most likely be book #8 in the Pithea Series. But since I’m just about to publish book #1, and all of the books between here and #8 still need a lot of work, who knows what could happen by the time I get there.

I had some highs and lows during NaNo, but was more happy than not with what I was writing. I had some “Aha!” moments, which I absolutely love, even though they were mostly minor. Still exciting! I already know a lot of places that need work, but it will be a long time before I get back to it for revision.

I had hoped to leave myself with little to work on for publishing “Pithea” during November, so I could focus on NaNo, but being that this is the first novel I’ve ever published, I can say now how silly it was for me to think that would be the case. I managed to find a balance, though, and now I have only small details left to work on.

I now have a finished cover, the paperback interior is completely ready, and the digital file just needs updated to minor changes I made when finalizing the paperback interior. I’ve added the book to Goodreads (just the paperback for now until I finish the digital file), added it to Reedsy (read the first chapter here!), and the ebook will be available for pre-order on Amazon soon!

So with NaNo over and my attention turning not only to final publishing details, but also to working on book #2 so that it can be released in a timely fashion after book #1, I have a new list of writing goals, related to all of these things:

1. Remove NaNo fodder from 2019 NaNoNovel – Sometimes I’ll spend the first few days after November ends doing a quick clean-up of what I wrote–mostly removing things I marked as NaNo fodder and at least doing a quick spell check. This is usually better to do while the story is still fresh, and then it’s good to let it sit for some time. It shouldn’t take long, and is better done now than later (I know that from experience).

2. Update Kindle version of “Pithea” – As part of this goal, after updating it, I’ll need to upload the final version to KDP, proof it, and decide on when the pre-order should be available. And add the Kindle version to Goodreads.

3. Finish first revision of “Outcast” (book #2) – Going by what is widely understood to be acceptable word count lengths for books of its type, “Outcast” is currently quite a bit too short. However, the amount I’d have to add would basically be entire new story arc. Rather than stress about how to lengthen it right now, I’m going to finish with the revision of what is already there, and then send it to 3 people who were most helpful with revision of “Pithea” and ask them to read it and tell me what they think–if they think there’s a lot that could be expanded on, plot threads they’d like to see followed, etc. And then I’ll go from there.

NaNoWriMo Day 30

Day 30 writing badge

The Words: 633 words, which were written in a notebook while sitting at my table at the nearby library’s Local Author Book Sale today. I wrote now and then when there were no people in sight. I knew I was close to the end of the story and figured I could make use of the downtime.

The Story:  I finished storyline 2 today, which also finished the draft! There was some conversation that didn’t get written for storyline 2b, but there came a point where I was just repeating some of the same argument between 2 people. When it’s time to revise this draft, storyline 2b will be the first thing to get a huge makeover anyway, because I kept it super simple in a way that won’t work that well for a book. So I’ll have to figure out how liven up that storyline, and I can add anything else it needs in at that point anyway.

FINAL word count: 82,750

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 30, 2019
Be sure to check back tomorrow too, as there is often a final comic on December 1st.
The final episode of the NaNoMusical is perfect for the final day of NaNo. Be sure to watch the wrap-up!

NaNoWriMo Day 29

Day 29 writing badge

The Words: 415 words. I wrote a little during my family’s big Thanksgiving get-together today. I took my Neo and typed a little while my family was playing Codenames: Pictures.

The Story:  That small amount of words was for storyline 2, and I think I’m now onto the final scene for this storyline. Tomorrow, I’ll be gone all morning and afternoon, going to a nearby library for a Local Author Book Sale to sell The Triangle and promote “Pithea.” And in the evening, my family will probably be decorating the Christmas tree, but I expect to still have some time before midnight to get a little more work in and hopefully finish the draft!

Total word count: 82,117

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 29, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 28

Day 28 writing badge

The Words: 1893 words. Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate! My big family get-together is tomorrow, so today wasn’t as busy as it is for many. I did have some food to prepare, and my husband and kids and I had a small celebratory dinner for just us, but I had some free time this afternoon. Unfortunately, a collaboration of events kept me from getting any writing in until after my daughter went to bed anyway. But I still managed to get plenty of writing in at that time.

The Story:  Storyline 1, which I thought was going to be the secondary arc but has apparently become the main arc, came to an end today. However, after I pantsed a climax, I realized that what I had left in my outline just wasn’t a great way to end the main arc of the book. So I decided to write a scene that would follow the thread that came up during my writing this month (so wasn’t planned ahead at all) through to where that would lead into the next book. I’m still not 100% sure that that is where I want to leave it, but I will worry about that during the first revision, after the book has had time to rest. Then I’ll have time to re-outline using this draft, and figure out what the story might be missing, and the best way to end the book.

I now have 2 days left to finish storyline 2. I am definitely close, but will be gone pretty much all day tomorrow, and will probably be pretty busy on Saturday. I have confidence that I’ll end the month with a completed draft though. I did sort of leave storyline 2b hanging, but it’s not nearly as important, most of what was going to happen there is written in enough detail in my outline anyway, and to be honest, I didn’t know how much of it was going to stay in the finished story, and how much will be edited out anyway, so it doesn’t bother me if i don’t have time to go back and “finish” it.

Total word count: 81,702

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 28, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 27

Day 27 writing badge

The Words: 2213 words. I had an afternoon alone today and an evening with just my husband and me home, so I made sure to spend some time writing in the afternoon, to open up my evening to spend with my husband. I wrote just past par and ended at a pivotal moment. My brain kept working on it after my husband came home, so I had to write just a little bit more to avoid forgetting what I’d decided to do. Then later, after the kids came home, I had a little extra time, but couldn’t focus well enough to get more than 80 words.

The Story:  The secondary climax (which is the main climax of storyline 2) went quite well for a first draft, contrary to what I expected. Then after that, I got to write what I feel like is one of my best out-of-nowhere-but-it-works ideas for the later books of this series. There’s definitely not much left of storyline 2, and I have to figure out how to end it.

Total word count: 79,809

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 27, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 26

Day 26 writing badge

The Words: 1837 words. I didn’t sit down to start writing until after 10pm today, but was able to get just past par, getting the last of these words right before midnight. The rest of the days of the month will not be a whole lot better for writing time than what I’ve had recently, so I will probably not have any more big days this month, but I will still try to write at least something every day.

The Story:  The climax stalled a little as I struggled with where to take it (yay, pantsing!) and the characters just started discussing things. I finally had to stop them short and get the action back on track. I think I am at the end of the climax now, and have just the conclusion left for storyline 1. And the conclusion will be a pretty big thing for this part of the world, not to mention something that was only made possible by an “Aha!” moment that came out while writing earlier in the month. This is why I love NaNo!

Total word count: 77,597

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 26, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 25

Day 25 writing badge

The Words: 1697 words. I went for par today, after a full day of work, and managed to catch some perfectly timed sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter. That’s all I have to say about the word count today.

The Story:  Storyline 2 got a little mushy today, with 2 characters who have been through a good amount of hardship, both individually and in their relationship. It was nice to give them a chance to be happy together for a bit. And now we’re perched on the edge of the climax of this storyline, which is not the main climax of the novel, but I’m really looking forward to it. Which means it’ll probably fall flat in this first draft and need hefty revision.

Total word count: 75,758

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 25, 2019
And with 5 days left of NaNoWriMo, be sure to check out episode 5 of the NaNoMusical, where the stresses of the month catch up to the characters in my favorite song of the whole thing!

NaNoWriMo Day 24

Day 24 writing badge

The Words: 643 words. Every month has those days where I just write a little to say I wrote that day. Today was one of those days. It was an early morning, as the 4th Sunday of the month always is, since my husband and I are on the worship team at our church on those Sundays, and we have to go early for practice before the service. I brought my Neo and wrote about 300 words in the downtime after practice.

Then, my husband and I headed to the larger city about 40 minutes away for some shopping and a date night. We got back late and had to take care of some things at home, so I cranked out another 300 words just to be able to get a few more words in.

The Story:  Storyline 1 took a sudden turn today, heading right for the climax of this book, which I really only planned to include within the last week or so. I’ll be pantsing it, which may or may not work out well. My history of pantsing more than little bits of my novel throughout the month has been pretty hit-or-miss for me (last year, a huge success; 2015, not so much).

I let myself off the hook for how little I wrote tonight when I realized how close I am to the end of the story in both storylines, with 6 days still left of NaNoWriMo. It’s a delicate balance for me–I basically want to get to the end of the draft on November 30th, so I don’t run out of story too soon, or risk the draft not getting done.

Total word count: 74,061

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 24, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 23

Day 23 writing badge

The Words: 1843 words, again just happy to get at least par. More freelance work for my old job took up my morning and afternoon, and I have to get up really early tomorrow, so I’m going to bed early. I really hope to pick up the pace for the rest of the month, but it’s not going to happen today.

The Story:  Storyline 2 saw a reuniting of two friends who spent the whole story before now apart. It was nice, but it’s nothing compared to the reunion that’s coming soon. The end of this storyline isn’t far away, which at this point is a good thing. While I hate running out of something to write before the end of the month, I’ve been a little concerned about finishing the draft this month, due to being so busy, so I’m seeing some hope for that now!

Total word count: 73,418

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 23, 2019

NaNoWriMo Day 22

Day 22 writing badge

The Words: 2040 words and happy to get that. I did some freelance work for my old job today (helping get an app built, which is really not my area of expertise) and worked on the cover of “Pithea” (which comes out on January 10th!) to try to make it look better on the paperback. By evening, my head just wasn’t in the first-draft writing space. But I dug down deep and did some sprints with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter and at least wrote a bit past par.

The Story:  Today was all conversation for storyline 1. I really like how the characters are developing in this storyline, but I will probably have to put more variety into it in the next draft. For now though, big news has been revealed that may or may not be as much of a huge revelation for the readers (someday far in the future) as it is for the characters.

Total word count: 71,575

Don’t forget to check out today’s NaNoToons if you haven’t already:
November 22, 2019