As many of you know, I tried to do the November novel writing challenge.  How did I do?  Well, a lot goes on if you view the glass half empty or half full (or kamikaze fatalist that Cynthia talks about- where not only is the glass empty, but it shatters and you cut your hand…..)

I wrote 35,000 words.  I was 15,000 short of my goal.  Am I happy or am I upset?  Initially, I was a little annoyed when I realized there was no way I was going to hit my writing goal.  But then my friend SF said, it’s really not the amount of words, it’s about the writing.”  And he was right.  A wise man.  I have had many wise, male friends.  I’ve never married any of them, but I know them…..

I’m choosing happy with what I did accomplish.

  1. I have  35m more words than I started out with
  2. 109 pages
  3. 109 pages that I can work with (which has never been the case before)
  4. characters developing nicely
  5. characters have believability
  6. I’m about to hit the climax, and I have the major plot points mapped out to get to the conclusion
  7. I know where some of the holes and gaps are, and have ideas on how to fix them

My biggest issue:  Is the story too simplistic.  Nothing blows up.  No one gets murdered.  It’s just a slightly humorous story about trying to find love as you get older.  But do people want to read something like that?

I’ve learned other things about me and writing:

  1. I have to become more materialistic.  When I’m trying to describe settings, I am having difficulty with specifics.  I wrote a scene where you need to sit on the couch.  How do I describe the couch?  I’m not a decorator type, so I have no idea what different fabrics are called.  I can’t have every character have a sofa that is ultra suede, canvas or velvet.  I need a primer on different furniture styles and materials.  I know when I do the rewrite, I’m going to need a home décor book.
  2. I now actively watch people.  Yes, this is probably as creepy as it sounds.  I look at hair color, face hair, tattoos, hair cuts, how people sit, how they stand- etc.  I never realized how much detail people want/need.  I never realized how much you can show in a story just by describing them.  Like it or not- we all make assumptions based on appearances (but I realize- I think I make less assumptions)  Side note- I don’t know if people like being stared at on the subway, especially if you’re taking notes.
  3. I need a description cheat sheet.  I forgot what I named a characters child.  I forgot how I described someone’s living room.  these little details must be consistent throughout the book, but you have to also not overuse description.
  4. I hate typing quotation marks.  I think they’re stupid.  But alas, I know we need them.

And there you have it- the conclusion of writing month.  Hope everyone worked towards their personal goals.  Keep writing!

80 thoughts on “The End of Writing Month

  1. I feel your pain. I’m about 40,000 words into a light novel. Couldn’t remember little stuff so I went back and created a cheat sheet. Now I’m wondering if it’s worth writing. Will my writing improve the world in any way? Is it merely a vanity project on my part? My characters talk too much. And I stink at describing sofas and bedrooms. Maybe I’ll visit my writing again some day soon. Maybe not. Feel my angst?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Will my writing improve the world in any way?” well it sure as hell can’t hurt. And given that you’re a fine stylist with a innate sense of humor I think you’re selling yourself short when you could be laughing your way to the bank. And angst is my damn middle name.

      Just A. Rogue
      Site Down, South Dakota

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Great job! You just started writing a novel…don’t expect to run a marathon after running a few times. You started and that is great in and of itself.

    I like your idea of the cheat sheet for characters names. I should’ve done that for my blog. It is hard to keep track of pseudonyms I use if I haven’t spoke about a character for several months…also I feel too lazy to scroll back over the last couple of years at this point. It is hard enough to be descriptive about someone that you know…I can’t imagine creating a character.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s a lot easier using initials though. Although I can give my characters the names I think they should have (more fitting for their personalities). But I usually just find variations of some names…Bryan for Ryan…a lot easier to remember.

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  3. Congrats! I think its awesome that you wrote 35,000 words, even if it did fall short of your goal. As you said it is 35,000 more words than you had before!
    LOL about staring at people and taking notes!
    I agree about.the quotation marks. 🙂 and a cheat sheet sounds like a great idea.
    As for your question about your story being “too simple”….In a world of chaos and a life that can definitely have its chaotic moments, I believe simple can be just the right ingredient!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m right there with you, but progress is progress! Keep at it and don’t fret too much about if people will like it or not. I think we all fear the people who don’t like our work, but we didn’t write it for them. Keep your head up and keep heading in the direction you are. 😊

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  5. Writing is hard, isn’t it? I have about 10,000 words I’ve written of my novel somewhere around here. Difference is I have too much stuff. I’m overwhelmed by all the notes and details I have written down. Maybe I’ll get back to it some day.

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  6. Congrats on getting 35,000 words of a novel written! I did NaNo two yrs in a row as a rebel (word count only) I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to write a novel. Maybe after a writing class or something. The most I’ve done is a chapter story, most of the time my favorite is flash fiction. Kudos to you and keep up the good work!

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  7. Great job! I’ve always been afraid of tackling nanowrimo. A book I read that helped me so much with plotting is “Save the Cat.” Have you read it? It’s a screenwriting book that helped me through some tough spots in the novel I’m revising–again. I remember when one of my writing friends had her first book published, she was one of the guest speakers at an SCBWI meeting. She said she went through 17 rewrites. That made me realize that although I felt I had a finished product with my novel–I was not close to being done! I’m working on it, though!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m taking a writing class now, which has made all the difference in the world. I’m figuring out how to move my story along, which has always been the problem. I never read that book, but I will look into it. It’s funny….the thing about all the rewrites has actually motivated me. When you realize that only about 50% of a first draft makes it into the novel, it makes writing easier cause it takes off the pressure. It’s not supposed to be perfect…’s supposed to be the beginning of telling a story..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. I’ve dusted off a mid-grade novel I wrote a first draft of in 2008. I look at it so differently now. Also, I asked advice from a writer who has more than 100 books published for children, both fiction and nonfiction. She told me she hires editors, which I never knew! So, I got several names from her and hired an editor and got great feedback and specific line by line edits as well as big picture ideas. I think the rewrites are harder than the first draft, though.

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      2. I’m revising daily on my manuscript. I’m about two-thirds through this current rewrite. The book I recommended, “Save the Cat,” helped me create a storyboard for the plot. The editor helped with character development. And like you said, it’s all hard!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s strange when I’m, outlining …story boarding…index carding… screenwriting style, I loose theme and voice. When I working straight narrative I forget structure. I’ve notice a trend in writing software to try and merge the two disciplines under the rubric of story telling. But the approach so far seems to stress that old saw of the hero’s journey. Which is the just worn cutting edge of the other old saw…the same but different. Good luck.


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  8. Well done! Your comment about hating quotation marks made me think of the novel that I am currently reading, Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (he also wrote A Gentleman in Moscow). There is not one (that I can remember) quotation mark in the whole book. Instead, he used dashes and it works very well.

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  9. My daughter, now studying English in college, did NaNoWriMo twice! I didn’t really understand what she was talking about at the time. I thought about doing it myself this year but November was a busy travel month so I knew I didn’t have a chance. But good for you, now you’re off to a good start! Maybe next year for me…

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  10. First draft don’t give a damn about couch fabric. Getting characters into a room and having them up and down and confab is more important.

    Cheap Cheat Sheets are out there and their know as software. Seems serious scribblers all scream about a program called “Scrivener”… just updated and it’s both Mac and Windows conversant.

    “Character Folio” is penny for the pound software. Apple app store. If your MACing.

    “Nothing blows up. No one gets murdered.” So what, never pegged ya for a genre queen. Just make sure all your players have a problem, and are working it each scene.

    You did great with that November writing nonsense.

    Beta readers in March…geez my over/under wager would be late April.

    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m only going with March cause I know my life slows down in January and February. I like my protagonist, and I like the surrounding characters. Some of my dialogue is good, some of my internal monologue is good. I have a use issue with description, probably cause I don’t love reading description. But it would appear, the readers that would appeal to my subject matter, finding live after 50 with a slight humorous bend, like description. I know what I want to say, for the most part, and I’m enjoying putting one to paper, so to speak….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! I would have no idea where to start when writing a novel, and yet I’m intrigued by the idea! I think you’ve done brilliant! 35000 words, just Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m really proud of your Nano Accomplishment! You learned stuff, and you got words. That’s the whole point. You’re a winner.
    Cheat sheets are probably a necessity for everyone, if they would just admit it.
    I’m a winner, in that I got my 50,000 words, even though, after finding out that I actually had 49,986 words, I had to go back and add, “Yes, I did too get 50,000 words in one month of writing every day,” to make the total! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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