WORD COUNT: 7143
So how we doing after Week One? Hitting our targets? Not hitting our targets? Hopefully you’re all still plugging along. For those of you who are struggling, remember, while the goal is to reach 50,000 words in 30 days, the real task is to find a daily writing routine. So whether it’s the average 1,667 words per day needed to reach 50K by 30 days, or just 500 words a day (or the 716 I’m averaging, although I’m really averaging more than that – I’ll elaborate more here in a few), or you’re cranking out 2,000 words, the point is you’re writing.
And if you’re churning out 2,000 words per day, good for you…you bastard.
As I expected, I got off to a late start. I didn’t get started writing in earnest until Tuesday the 5th, although I did manage to jot a good thousand words or so in my notebook while I was out of town. Since Tuesday, I’ve written just under 6,500 words, and it’s helped that I’ve used Rachel Aaron’s planning technique before I begin writing. I guess if I wanted to argue semantics, I’m averaging 1,786 words in 4 days of writing. But we’re not arguing semantics right now, are we? My pace still places me well behind the desired 1,667 words per day, but no matter: I’m very satisfied with the content.
Finding time to write has been the challenge, like I’m sure it’s been for you as well. Luckily for me, I work from home, so there are pockets of time during my day where I can take advantage of some free time. An hour here in between conference calls, or the hour I pencil in for a lunch break. Once my daughter goes to bed, and my wife and I spend some time together – she also works from home – I’ll use a couple of hours at night to write. I get perhaps three solid hours a day to write. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that time.
I’ve never had luck coming up with titles I liked, but I did come up with one for my newest NaNoWriMo work-in-progress: “Joe the Lion.” If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the title of a David Bowie song. The book’s title has to do with the progression of the character, I think. There’s the meaning of the song’s lyrics, which allude to emotional numbness, which is something “Joe” struggles to overcome. So, yeah, I’m cribbing the song title for my book’s title. If David Bowie’s going to sue me, I’d be honored.
I’m having a lot of fun with a secondary character in the story. Joe, our protagonist, leads a dull, emotionally bland existence as an office drone, and he escapes his existence via his cultish obsession with a fictional TV character named Derek Slate. His hero is a playboy detective with supernatural abilities. Think some Sherlock Holmes mixed with James Bond and splashed with a little bit of Doctor Who, and you’ve got Derek Slate. He’s a dapper Englishman with a smashing wardrobe, a quick wit, a brilliant intellect, a vicious uppercut, and an encyclopedic knowledge of the supernatural. Oh, and he happens to be immortal. He’s a TV character, after all; we can make him as implausible as possible, and that comes into play throughout the story.
Derek Slate is both Joe’s Inciting Event and the person that guides him through his journey. Derek’s motives will be infuriating and sometimes cryptic, but they will mean something to Joe, and it’s up to Joe to figure that out. It’s all magical realism, of course. Anyone who’s ever read Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Haruki Murakami knows how these two authors often use a supernatural secondary character – a ghost, a talking cat, a golem, something to that extent – to push both their main characters and their stories along. Derek’s been a blast to write so far, and he’s really the engine that’s driving this story.
It helps to visualize who your characters look like. If (and that’s a big if) a film version of “Joe the Lion” were to be made, then Derek Slate would be played by this man:
So I’m really not certain I’m going to reach the 50,000 word mark by November 30th, but I’m very excited about how this story is unfolding as I’m writing, in the pockets of time throughout the day and in the couple of hours at night when I write.
More details to follow. In the meantime, happy writing, and remember, it’s all meant to be fun! Share your NaNoWriMo stories in the Comments section, won’t you?