So I’m just over half way into September and in that time I’ve written over 11,000 words on my manuscript (including bits I later deleted). By some standards that might be considered slow, but I’m pretty happy with it. I’m moving forward, and that’s better than standing still. And importantly, I’m giving myself time to think about what I write before I write it and time to reflect each day on what I have written. I think that’s valuable.
I hope to continue using a format like this in October, but at the same time I know I’m holding back in what I write out here, partly because, hey, you guys might read this story some time, I don’t want to spoil it, and partly because I don’t want to go boring you talking about a story you can’t read yet. So I think in October it’ll take a different format, and I’ll keep a separate document live for notes, but with dates and wordcounts and time stamps and everything too. Maybe I’ll post a weekly roundup summarising my struggles and questions through the week, as well as the total wordcount for that week. That sounds like it’d be a good idea.
November is a different matter, however. November is NaNoWriMo, and I’m never quite sure if it’s a good idea to take part. I did last year and got a solid, if subsequenlty unused, start to the first first draft of this story (this being the third first draft I’m writing now). I didn’t win the challenge of NaNo by reaching the 50,000 word mark, and that may have had a negative impact on my motivation in December, but during November itself I had a bit of a boost. The thing is, I’ve done some calculations and I’d have to double my writing output on weekdays and triple it on weekends to meet the 50,000 word target, and I’m concerned I’ll be left burnt out – at a time I’ll also be working towards getting crochet projects finished in time to sell at a Christmas market, and attempting to study for a couple of free online courses (in fact, the first starts next week: Hadrian’s Wall). I dunno, maybe NaNo would be a bit too ambitious.
And maybe I won’t even need it, not really. I am making progress, and more consistent progress than I managed in May. I’m reasonably confident that I’ll manage through October too, even if this part of it changes focus a little. Maybe it would be better to stick to a similar schedule in November, and work on carrying on the daily writing challenge, making writing a habit, than risk disrupting that with a mid-month breakdown if something at work requires a couple of days of overtime as a deadline approaches, and I’m trying to keep up with online courses and crochet and writing all at once and have no time left for anything else.
Things could well change between now and October 31st, so I’m not making a firm decision now, but the way I feel now is that it might be best to pass on NaNo. Even if it means I don’t finish what I’m writing by the end of the year. Better to finish later than I’d hoped than crash and burn and take down some other aspect of my life with it.
Anyway. On to today’s writing. I wasn’t happy with the last paragraph I wrote yesterday. Actually there’s a lot I’m not happy with, but I don’t want to just rewrite it all, I want to move forward. I’ve got some fun things planned today.
Okay so here’s what happens: The Governor is giving her whole big speech. She’s the centre of attention, just the way she likes it. She has to get the crowd to agree with her as she turns things around, so she’s weaving a narrative that starts with the evil criminals undermining our society, currently standing on the scaffold waiting to be hanged. That’s what I will start with today – expanding on that part of her speech. I’ll have the guards actually put the nooses around their necks as the Governor pauses to watch, directing the crowd’s attention as she does so. It’s all theatre to her, a show she’s putting on, because it is important that she create memorable events in order to make this location a magical well for her to draw upon (not that anyone else knows that yet).
Ah, but – she turns back to the crowd – this is all about society. Their society. The society each and every one of them has worked hard to create. A society free from the tyranny of Narricol, a distant and corrupt government that controlled their lives before the plague – controlled, but did not care for. This is about the fight against that Empire. A fight that depends on the swift and secure construction of walls protecting the town and its assets. And there are so few of them left, now, a mere couple of thousand where only a year before there were over twenty thousand people on the island. And there are never enough workers. So why not offer these criminals a change at redemption? A choice: to die or to work. As slaves, of course, but the Governor wouldn’t be so crass as to use that word in front of the crowd.
So I shall get to work.
Time is 21:33.
Finishing 22:25. Lots written today: 1,230. That was definitely much better than the first version. With the Governor’s false accusations against Fiarra – apparently now she’s a rebel leader who led workers in a bloody crusade against the “mine administrators” and then attacked the quarry with the same mob at her back – the crowd witnessing her execution really hate her. This can definitely play into some “how can I make things worse for Fiarra today” moments in the future, because a lot of people will believe what the Governor has said and will recognise Fiarra. So defintely a big improvement.
And now time for bed.