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?

Comments

raelynbarclay said…
I'm finding myself writing in a chunkster pattern this month too. I swear no two stories flow from me the same, LOL

Good luck with the upcoming week.
Old Kitty said…
Yay for your nano-ing! Good luck - glad it's inspiring your writerly soul and processes!

I hope your hero and heroine find their way out of Spain in June 1493 while setting off some fireworks of their own! Take care
x
Trisha said…
I love NaNo because it gets me some usually-complete novels I can then get around to working on!
Claire said…
I like NaNo just because it shuts up my Inner Editor, ha. Of course right now I am avoiding writing my current novel at all costs. I in fact starting writing a short story instead, I was so desperate. Gah.
Romance Reader said…
Good luck with your NaNo!
Nas Dean said…
Hi Deniz,

All the best with your NaNo!
Lynda R Young said…
NaNo is defintiely great for discipline and motivation. I love it.
Naina Gupta said…
All the best and good luck for NaNo
S.P. Bowers said…
Hmmm, What kind of animals are there? Do they find a pet, a hurt animal, a predator who chases them into/out of the cave with the brigands? What kind of medical problems? Can one of them break a leg or arm? have an allergic reaction? This could bring them closer together. Before one of them finds something out about the other that drives them further apart. What about a fair or bazaar, they can have one fun, perfect day before everything goes wrong. A kidnappping? Is she threatened with being turned back into a slave?

Don't know if any of those will be helpful since I know next to nothing about your story. Good luck.
Joshua said…
I've never heard the term chunkster before, but I suppose I'm a pantser. And if you're at 30K already, you're 10K more than me, so well done!!!
Madeleine said…
Yes I think we do have patterns and I am trying to become a better plotter having been a pantser before. Good luck with the novel.
I use "I" a lot too, especially in my stories. I guess that's my pattern, but I need to break that habit. I wish I could do NaNoWrimo, but November's a busy month during the school year. It sounds like fun though. And I agree that it would keep writers disciplined, because discipline is the best way for them to achieve their goal by the end of the month.
Ryan King said…
Dun-Dun-Dunnnnnn. The dreaded middle. There's no easy way to tell if your story should be a Novella or a Novel. You've got all the pivotal stuff in but is that enough to really tell your story?
Glynis said…
Keep going and well done! You sound busy, keep up the good work,Deniz.
Robyn Campbell said…
Not doing NaNo this time around. Great post, Deniz.

Thanks for this: "Maybe instead of focus on me, the writer, I ought to think some more about my characters and their needs." Excellent. *waving and smiling*
Susan Fields said…
My first drafts are always much too short. I think I'm in such a hurry to get all the action down that I don't devote many words to the inner stuff going on - that comes in revisions.
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks Raelyn - good luck to you too!

Ooh, fireworks... Thanks Old Kitty, you've sparked an idea!

I like the drive of NaNo, too, Trisha and Claire! Shut up, Internal Editor.

Thanks Romance Reader, Nas and Naina!

You're right, Lynda.

Ooh, Sara, ideas!! I get to save them on my newly created special Scrivener page...

I think chunkster and pantster are meant to be the same, Joshua. I just have to type all my words... 3 days behind now!

Thanks Madeleine!

You can try it in another month, Neurotic - I think they do a June version.

I don't know, Ryan! I won't know until I finish typing and get into editing mode :-)

Thanks so much, Glynis!
Talli Roland said…
Blogger ate my comment, so trying again... good luck, Deniz. I hear you on the angst!
S.P. Bowers said…
Actually, Chunkster and pantster are not the same. A pantster is someone who doesn't outline and figures it out as they go. A chunkster is someone who doesn't write linearly. So you can be a chunkster but still have it planned out or you can be a pantster but still write linearly. Or you can be a chunky pants writer like me!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks Talli! Argh on this angst! I wish I was over the middle-of-the-novel hump already...

Oh, you're right, Sara, thanks for the clarification. And yes, I'm a chunky pants writer too!

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