Progress report: One Million Words, week 15

This week I have written a total of 2,467 words. This includes 13 haiku written across six days – I didn’t manage one on Friday.

That’s 352 words a day on average.

In the last 15 weeks I have written just over a NaNo novel’s worth of words – my total is now 50,043/1,000,000, or 5.0% I am now one twentieth of the way to my overall goal. Hopefully it’ll take me a lot less time to double that, as I will be attempting NaNo next month, starting next Sunday.

Day by day summary

Monday: 431 words

Tuesday: 244 words

Wednesday: 222 words

Thursday: 9 words

Friday: 525 words

Saturday: 391 words

Sunday: 634 words


With my decision to attempt National Novel Writing Month next month, and its imminent start, this weekend I have started to gear up for it, with more notes on the stories and characters. In the early part of the week I worked on a story called Ekan’s Secrets, a backstory short to help me get a better idea of Ekan’s character and motivations. I didn’t finish it, but I wrote enough to get what I needed, in combination with a plot overview.

On Friday I wrote a slice of a scene, an interaction between Kell and Ekan, which I think is characteristic of their early relationship, a little hostility from different perspectives. Writing it helped me thinking about that relationship and their personalities, building on the Ekan’s Secrets piece. The story itself was initially inspired by a particularly beautiful piece of music, Waterways by Ludovico Einaudi, which I was listening to while writing, as well as the mists that we’re starting to get in the early mornings at this stage of the season.

The placement of that scene would be after the storm storyline I’m planning for the second chapter of Kell’s story. Which, in spite of last week’s optomism, I have made no further progress on. There needs to be something more than just the storm, and I might have managed to sort something out for that with my notes and outlines, but I’ve not got to writing it yet.

Speaking of outlines, I’ve gone back to them. Writing without much idea of where I am going isn’t working. I get stuck, write til I run out of steam, then delete huge amounts, and it’s discouraging. I do need something of an outline. Nothing too detailed, at least not til the day I come to write it, but something.

That realisation, combined with further thoughts about Kell’s character, her weaknesses and her desires and fears, has led me to start afresh, again. Perhaps I should have held off on this til next week, when I could get stuck into the story in the context of NaNo, and used what time was left til then to write stuff about other characters. Maybe I’ll take that tack in the week to come. The first chapter has changed, and thus it needs rewriting.

Either way, I’ve got to step up my wordcount output if I want to succeed with NaNoWriMo. My average daily wordcount is much lower now than it was when things were going well, and that was a long way short of what NaNo requires. I will need to dedicate more time to writing and really push in the coming weeks. This week I will attempt to dedicate a couple of hours each morning (except the days I’m working) to writing, and not just making notes or typing up the Mountain Story, but actually writing some first draft fiction. Maybe I’ll try to write a 1,000 word story about each of the seven key characters, at some point in their life, over the course of the week, one a day.

Take away points

  1. Working without outlines, it turns out, isn’t for me. It just doesn’t last, and I don’t like what I write, so I do need some sort of plan or outline.
  2. Writing character pieces definitely has helped, so next week I’ll try to write a short story about each of my main cast of seven, including Kell.
  3. Writing three take away points is becoming a struggle now; I can’t learn or try three things every week so from next week onwards I think it’ll just be as many points as I need, whether that’s one or twenty-one.

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