“Cut a good story anywhere, and it will bleed.”
Anton Chekhov

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

on taking a permanent vacation from nanowrimo
Wed 2014-11-26 23:12:15 (in context)
  • 6,559 words (if poetry, lines) long

Confession: I'm not going to win NaNoWriMo this year. I'm not even going to try. My current word count means I'd have to write 8,689 words every day to reach 50,000 on November 30, and that includes today. That's not going to happen. Even if I didn't have other things taking up my time this week, I'm just not sure it's worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Which isn't to say NaNoWriMo isn't worth it, in and of itself, but this year, given my current situation, it's not worth it to me.

My novel draft is at a point where madly producing word count by the thousand isn't really the next step. The "rediscovery drafting" I've dabbled in this month has helped, certainly, but in the way of a kind of brainless blunt instrument. I'd be better served by nuance and planning. Planning! Heresy! But there's so much that I don't know about this novel. I could get lost, nibbling away at it one scene at a time, producing huge amounts of material that may never get used at all--because the scene doesn't end up making it into the book, or because the voice I've given my character is all wrong, or because I haven't actually figured out exactly what Mr. Greenbriar's political aims are or what Old Mack is really scheming or the exact nature of some other large-arc game-changer...


Meanwhile, November 30th is the deadline for two different calls for submissions to which I want to send stories. Getting the stories ready to email by Sunday is doable, but not if I'm using all my time trying to navigate a changeling protagonist through the day-to-day intrigue of a fictional Wyoming high school.

On the other hand, on November 29th I get on a Greyhound bus for Vail, in which region I'll be staying for a week, all by myself, just me and my laptop. I'll be there a glorious six more days after meeting my November 30th deadlines. Which means I can dedicate my solo writing retreat to digging this novel out of its rut and putting it on track toward a publishable state.

I've done NaNoWriMo every year since 2002. Do something for a decade or more, and people expect you to do it forever. Heck, I expect me to do it every November. But, honestly, I'm sitting on a lot of novels in rough draft form, and I'm tired of it. I want to publish novels, and that's not going to happen until I rewrite, revise, polish and submit. That's work. That's work I don't actually know how to do yet. I need to spend time doing that before I crank out another 30-day 50K monstrosity.

So that's my Vacation From NaNoWriMo Manifesto. Hopefully it will lead to Interesting Developments!