NaNo Thoughts #4: Halfsies

halfandhalfSo, it’s November 15th and already NaNoWriMo is half over. How are you doing? Have you hit 25000 words yet? If so, how does it feel to be half done? Do you feel like you’re half done? I personally have already questioned the 50,000 word novel idea. For most publishing industries, the standard is 80,000 words. At best, you’re half done on a novella. My advice is to look at NaNo as something more than a mad-dash to the finish line. Embrace everything NaNo can mean and everything it can show you.

I would say that halfway done in NaNoWriMo is a great time to evaluate your progress: what’s working and what isn’t? Is your narrative progressing like you expected it to? Or did your story take an unexpected turn? Halfway through a thing is an opportune time to evaluate what you’re doing and determine if it is working or not. Consider it a license to take an unexpected turn. Deviate from the expected. Treat your novel like a slasher film: have the story take a detour halfway through into the odd and unexpected, challenge yourself and your reader.  Kill half your characters.  You know, whatever works.

Over the last four years of doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve learned that NaNo is the perfect license to do something odd. Next year, I’m going to use it to put any current work on the Clockwork Wind series on hiatus for a month (or two) and do something different. Perhaps I’ll write a horror novel with some comedy (got the plot in my noggin’ already) or something folklore-y (again, have the idea percolating). I also just conceptualized a very intriguing new character for my steampunk series, so maybe I’ll try my hand with a pure YA novel, set in Steampunk India. I want to look at this as a time to grow in my craft, to expand my skills and my vision. NaNoWriMo is the perfect time to step out of my normal routine and touch upon something unique and special.

My suggestion is to use NaNo in whatever fashion you wish. Want to try something different like me? Go for it! Wanting to step out of your normal life and get started writing? No better time than now! (well, perhaps November 1st would have been more opportune…) Need to infuse your writing with some passion and dedication? That’s part of why NaNoWriMo exists! In short, make this month mean whatever you want it to. Ignore everyone and everything else and simply embrace your craft and fall in love each day with the magic of the written world. Just don’t invest halfway in the process. The writer in you is greedy and vain and they want it all. For this month, give it to them!

How are you doing so far this month? Share your progress!

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