NaNoWriMo Causes Chapter Reorganization

I’m pretty pleased with my early progress on NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month kicked off on Friday, and I’ve been using my time reasonably well.


Snoopy is a NaNoWriMo enthusiast too.

As you may recall from last week’s blog, my goal is less to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days and more to finish Roses Are White, the third book in the Wolf Dasher series. When I began NaNoWriMo Friday, I had 12 chapters done. Writing for 21 days would bring me up to 32, which is a little short of what I usually get but would put me close. I should also note that, as the Dasher books approach their climaxes, the chapters get shorter, so it might be possible to write more than one a day.

Anyway, I wrote Chapter 12 (the book has a prologue) Friday, cranking out a solid 2380 words.(If you’re doing the standard NaNoWriMo pace of 50k words in 30 days, you need to write 1667 words per day.)

I used some of my time this weekend to plot. I wanted to make sure I had five chapters plotted out and ready to write, so I wouldn’t have to spend any time trying to figure out what happens next. I could just write it.

And that’s when something funny happened. One of the new characters I’m introducing in this book is May Honeyflower’s younger brother Hollygrove. (If you’ve read the other books in the series, you know May is Wolf’s love interest.)

One of the subplots of Roses Are White is Hollygrove becoming radicalized. I plotted a chapter where insurgents are talking to him and discover who his sister is. I then planned for another chapter wherein they introduce him to someone higher up in their organization, because they think there is good opportunity to exploit the brother of the captain of Alfar’s Elite Guard.

I realized two things. First, these chapters needed to be farther apart for pacing purposes, and, second, the first one needed to appear before the last chapter I’d finished writing.

So I wrote the chapter today wherein Hollygrove reveals to his friends who his sister is and they see opportunity. That came in at 1786 words, a little shorter than I’d have liked, but you can’t force things to be a certain length. You write as much as it takes to tell the story.

Then I went back and tried to find a place for it. As it happened, the right fit was for it to be Chapter 10. Thus, I had to relabel Chapters 10, 11 and 12 to 11, 12, and 13.

Writing is a funny process. We’d like to think it happens linearly, where we go from beginning to end, but that’s often not the case, at least not for me. Anyway, I’m looking forward to penning Chapter 14 tomorrow,  which promises to be exciting. There’s a murder, and I am writing from the killer’s perspective. I’m looking forward to the challenges there.

Hope your NaNoWriMo project is going well. Leave a comment below to tell me about it!


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