Stormy Ocean, Hanna Bergblau

NaNoWriMo: Week One


I had all but decided on doing a Regency romance novel for NaNoWriMo this year. I flipped through my writing notebook for the notes I knew I had about the romance novel idea when I came across a one-line novel idea that struck me as really awesome and super fun. Honestly, I don’t really remember coming up with it in the first place. But once I saw it, I couldn’t get it out of my head, which told me that I probably should focus on it this month and see what happens.

I’m not a planner. Usually when I start a novel, I wing it. I just keep going. If I outline, I find myself stuck more often, as though I’m telling myself subconsciously that I have to follow the outline and can’t stray from it. That’s not true. Of course I don’t have to follow an outline exactly, but try and tell my brain that. But because I couldn’t start writing until November 1, I found myself sketching out some characters and chapter and scene summaries in the days leading up to the day I could start writing.

I feel good about having some things sketched out. My “outline” only goes up to about chapter 6, so after that I’m on my own. But I have a good handle on my characters and everything. Also, in planning, I wrote about half of a query letter. Putting the cart before the horse? Perhaps, but at least it’s a somewhat solid book summary to work with.

Another thing I did, which I’ve never done before, is create a cover for my book. The NaNo website suggests that participants are 60% more likely to finish if they have a cover. I don’t know about that, but I was feeling like doing some design work, I have a new favorite font I wanted to play with, and I found photos I really like, so I created a cover. It really doesn’t actually match up with the novel perfectly, but when do covers ever do that? Anyway, you can see it and follow my progress outside of these updates at my NaNo profile.

Day one

Word count: 2,302

I’m really scared to start another novel. As I talked about before, lately I’ve just wanted to give up on writing completely. But day one goes really well. The words flow out of me and I want to keep writing, but I’m trying to get this done before the Steelers game and while I’m at my parents’ house so the possibility of distraction is high.

Day two

Word count: 1,714

It’s odd seeing how easy it’s been getting into the rhythm of writing again. I thought that this early on I wouldn’t be able to handle it, that I’d already want to give up, but so far so good. One thing I decided today is that I want to always stop at the end of the day in the middle of a scene. It’s harder to do this than one would thing. On the one hand, I don’t want to forget where I was going or what the next sentence might be. But on the other hand, I don’t want to be stuck on what to write next if a scene is complete. I’m straddling these two concerns but I think it’s a good strategy to keep my momentum going.

Day three

Word count: 1,857

With such a limited amount of time each day to write – I write best in the morning but can’t bring myself to get up any earlier than normal, so there’s that, and I’m mostly incapable of writing in the evening after a day at work – I’ve taken to writing in the car again. Don’t worry, I don’t actually write. I use Google Voice and hope for the best. The good part is that it forces me to already do some minor editing when words and sentences are messed up because my phone has no idea what I actually said. There are some words it simply can’t get no matter how many times I say them. The bad part is I don’t get to edit it right away and sometimes I don’t have any idea what I was trying to say.

Day four

Word count: 2,134

I stayed late at work because I didn’t make my word count between my commute ramblings and my lunch break and because I wasn’t meeting my parents for dinner and trivia until 7. I clearly ended up fairly productive. The more I get involved with these characters and this world, the better I feel. It’s still coming pretty easy to me, and I hope that doesn’t go away.

Day five

Word count: 1,763

I realized I’m really wordy when I’m aiming for a daily word count. I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Revising comes after draft one, but it occurred to me that the way I usually write is more deliberately. I think more about the words I’m using, about my descriptions, about what everything conveys. It’s been over ten years since I did this novel in a month thing, and even though I’ve written seven full-length novels since then, I forgot how much writing it is each day. I can’t stop to think about whether a description is ridiculous or even if it makes sense. I just write. I’ll fix the wordiness once I’m finished.

Day six

Word count: 2,000

Even though I did some planning and vague outlining with this novel, things that I don’t usually do, I’ve still managed to let the story tell itself. This makes me happy. I started to write an unplanned transition scene the day before, focusing on it today. When I started it, it seemed as though the only role it’s going to play is that of world-building exposition. I’m not a big fan of that kind of exposition, to be honest, so even as I started writing it, I worried about it. However, the scene has become a really great moment in character development for Artie, my protagonist and narrator. It’ll make some of his choices later on make more sense. I love scenes that establish character, so I’m glad this one ended up that way.

Day seven

Word count: 1,272

Today sucked for writing because I had a bunch of things to get done first thing, then had a book club brunch, then went grocery shopping and met my mom at the mall. The problem is that I write best in the morning. So I’ve spent the last 4 hours writing crap words in what should actually be a very important scene. And I’m worried that I won’t get any writing time at all tomorrow because I’m going to the Steelers game. Ugh.

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