Friday, November 9, 2007

NaNoWriMo Day 9: watch out for research

I'm still ticking along with NaNoWriMo. At 13,941 words I have 1062 to write before midnight to make my quota of 15,002 words tonight. I got a little behind over the last couple of days, primarily because I got bit by the research bug. My protagonist is still at the Naval Academy. Although I remember a lot about USNA, I have had to resort to the web to remember some of the layout of the actual campus. That's fine, I probably could have cleared all of that up with a couple of trips to Wikipedia, but day before yesterday my research just simply turned into web surfing and I didn't make quota.

I realize this may sound like an unhealthy obsession with making quota, but there really is something to this. I have tried writing a novel several times before. In general I have carried around a notepad and a pen and just written whenever the spirit moved me, and got some very good scenes out of that process. I've also tried following a structure in The Weekend Novelist that was supposed to allow me to write a novel in one year, writing only on the weekends. I found my enthusiasm for this was not something I could sustain more than a month and a half. I find that by writing a set amount each day I am producing some pretty good stuff every day, along with some things that are regrettable that will have to be edited out in the end. But in the past, that regrettable material would have stopped me dead in my tracks. Since I'm writing with the understanding that this is a first draft that will have to be edited, I feel a lot freer to get my material out. Different stuff works for different people.

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