The Dreaded Middle: NaNo, ROW80 and Literary Resolutions

Woe is me.

It's here, the dreaded middle of the novel. Except that, because I'm a pantster/chunkster, the middle is not quite the middle.

Instead, I'm 30,000 words into the latest novel (while waiting on beta reviews for Rosa's story, Out of the Water, whose own middle needs editing before I start thinking of querying again) - which was called Verse, Venice and Viziers - a nicely convenient and alliterative name - until I discovered that for historical accuracy, the characters need to be in Rome, not Venice - and I don't know if I've got any more words to add.

I feel as if I've written all the pivotal scenes (even though only half of them are typed up) and I'm starting to wonder if this is more novella than novel. On the other hand, I had this same trouble with Rosa's story and ended up with 140,000 words. I'm at 120,000 now and still trying to cut down.

I seem to go through the same ups and downs with every novel. Do we all have patterns as writers?

I know I said I wouldn't do a lot of NaNo posts, but this one's in honour of the penultimate Literary Challenge/Resolution for this year: "Jump on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon and try to write a novel in a month."

I don't think I'd do NaNo at all if it didn't fit the way I already write - mad drafting and scribbling, followed by gradual typing, then editing ad infinitum (I use a Latin phrase with some trepidation. I once used cum instead of and, but Facebook, when transferring my blog post to the news feed, cut off my sentence to end at that word, and I got some, ahem, comments...).

I'll add that signing on for NaNo helps keep me disciplined, wakes my inner competitive self, and - mainly - a lot of my author friends from the Forum are participating, and it's exciting to work on a solo project yet be part of a group that's embarked on the same journey.

I, I, I. Maybe instead of focus on me, the writer, I ought to think some more about my characters and their needs. So let's see...

Escaping from brigands in a cave, somewhere in the wilds of Granada, Spain, in June 1493...
Hero and heroine have to fend for themselves.
They have no money, don't speak the language, and need to get back to their friends at Cadiz.

Oh, and neither will admit to being attracted to the other.

What happens next?
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