Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Progress and Musings

Less than 48 hours ago I was sitting on 8,334 words. Now, after a good chunk of writing on Sunday, several hours at a write-in earlier today, and a #1k1hr session with some people on Twitter tonight I'm at 14,150. That's nicely ahead of "pace" for the first seven days of NaNoWriMo and gives me some buffer for the rest of the work week.

Will I make it to 11/30 with a completed first draft? Certainly, right now it's looking good, at least for hitting the 50,000 words required to "win." If I'll be actually to the final word of the story by then or not, I'm not sure yet, and probably won't be until I get a lot closer. I'm nearing the 25% point of my "outline", though, so guesstimating that 60,000 words is a likely final length doesn't seem unreasonable.

And, of course, then I'll be far from "done." I'll be thrilled with what I have accomplished, of course. I'll have planned and executed a project in a thirty-day time period and likely dealt with multiple unexpected events along the way (both real and fictitious!) which required adjustments in my plan. But the novel won't be ready for anyone else to read. I'm sure I'll need at least a second pass through before I want to let anyone see it, other than maybe some excerpts here and there.

I was having a Twitter conversation tonight where the topic of what the ratio of first draft time to editing time is likely to be for a NaNo novel. I haven't specifically tracked it, but I think that I spend about 2-4 times the amount of hours revising a piece of work as I spend in first draft. That includes all rounds including feedback from critique partners. So, realistically, it will probably be six months after 11/30 before I'd have a good sense of where my novel might be going next. And that's OK. It's a long race and there can be lots of winners. And even if what I ultimate decide is that this one's going in the trunk, I'll know that it's something which I am capable of doing, and I'm sure I'll have learned plenty in the experience.


  1. You are doing really well. Keep it up!

  2. I've caught up a day so now I'm only one day behind target..... I'm aiming for at least 2,000 a day and I've brought it in at more than that every time so far. (Every time I've had chance to write)

    You;re doing really well though.

  3. Congratulations on your progress! Best of luck in keeping up the pace and "winning."

    Thanks for sharing your estimate on revisions. I'm experiencing the same kind of ratio as you, and I've wondered if that's "normal." Sounds like it is normal for us, at least!

    I believe we have a similar writing process too. I wrote the first draft quickly and then carefully produced a second draft before sharing it with critique partners. I'm a little over half-way through with the third draft, incorporating suggestions from my partners and adding more detail. I'm expecting to do a fourth draft after an editor gets a shot at it. Revision is definitely time consuming!

  4. Great work! I'm finding that I am believing in myself more. I'm at 20,000 now and I never thought I would make it that far!

  5. Daniel, thanks! Still doing OK as of today.

    I suspect that for different people there's a different ratio that's normal. There are probably people who do extensive editing as they go, who will rewrite an awkward sentence in the moment rather than in revision. For those people, I'd expect the ratio to be much different both because the initial draft would take longer and the post first-draft editing would presumably be less extensive.

    Neither is better than the other, but I suspect that each writer has a "style" that fits them best. If I tried to fine-tune everything as I went, I'd probably get very frustrated at a perceived lack of "progress." Similarly, someone who feels like they should be cleaning things up as they go might get frustrated feeling like they were writing junk if they tried to just plow through a first draft.

    Good to hear from someone who works the same way, though, and that the ratio is similar!

    Jase, thanks for stopping by. 20,000 is great! I'm just now around 16.5.