NaNoWriMo Checkpoint, Week Two, Or: Getting Sick is No Excuse For Not Padding Your Word Count (Also…a Giveaway!)



First, the good news: I’ve been able to write an outline and write a short synopsis for my NaNo WIP. The bad news is that I’ve been laid up with the early onset of the flu. I never seem to get the full-blown flu, albeit on maybe one or two occassions. I get symptoms, or lingering side effects, but no full-blown illness. Like right now, I’ve got an irritating cough that makes it hard for me to speak – which for someone as verbose like me is pretty much like a death sentence, even with the so-called “sexy voice” – and some chest congestion that’s got me feeling cranky. This has all pretty much ground my writing down to a few precious trickles here and there.

My plan last week was to take advantage of the alone time I was to have. My wife was away on a business trip for 4 days/3 nights, which would have given me a couple of hours during the day to write (always a plus, since I work from home), and some more hours at night, once I put my daughter to bed. But the flu bug started toying with me. “Oh, want to do some writing, huh? Yeah, I don’t think so!” Other than one day where I managed to string together more than 3500 words in about 4 hours of writing time stolen throughout the day, while fending off the I-feel-like-crap feeling, I got very little, and I mean VERY LITTLE writing done.

So I concentrated instead on fully outlining the WIP, and writing a synopsis in a sentence or two that neatly summarizes what I’m setting to accomplish. From this focus, I saw the novel take some interesting turns I hadn’t foreseen, but I was happy with nonetheless. For example, my protagonist has gone from being a male to now a female. Why? Because the story is far more interesting with a female protagonist, and the secondary character, which I discussed in my last post, plays better with her. There’s a road trip across America in their future that I honestly have no idea where that came from, but it makes perfect sense.

In all, I’m obsessed with the idea that this story must remain within the boundaries of being crazy, bat-shit crazy. The synopsis should tell you something about the level of crazy I’m working with her:

A suicidal woman embarks on an existential road trip across 1990’s America with a fictional character.

Sort of like Adventure Time, but with Finn as an adult woman an Jake as a fictional adult male, and with more adult-oriented existential silliness.


At any rate, I am feeling somewhat better, now that a visit to the doctor has armed me with enough antibiotics to rid me of any infections for the next decade, so I should start hacking away at my WIP and make some serious progress. I know I’m not going to reach 50,000 by November 30th, but who knows? 36,000 in 12 days…totally doable.



About that giveaway…I’m giving away a subscription to Poets & Writers magazine. It’s my favorite writer’s magazine, one that I’ve spoken of very highly on this blog. If I re-up for another year, which I will, P&W will give away a subscription to the person of my choice, on them.

The first person to correctly answer this question will win a one-year subscription to Poets & Writers magazine. Answer in the Comments section below. And no Googling!

Which of these American authors have NOT won the Nobel Prize for Literature?

A. John Steinbeck

B. Philip Roth

C. Ernest Hemingway

D. William Faulkner


11 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Checkpoint, Week Two, Or: Getting Sick is No Excuse For Not Padding Your Word Count (Also…a Giveaway!)

  1. All of the above.

    Hey, if the MD gave you antibiotics, I hope it isn’t flu, which being viral isn’t helped by such. But you aren’t talking about a fever, so I’m thinking not flu. Sinus infections?

    Anyway, I love the synopsis. And I appreciate that you turned a time when writing was hard into something so constructive. I need to take time to touch up my outline and give myself a better target,too.

    • I should clarify that I don’t have the flu right now. Sore throat, chest congestion, but not the flu.

      I needed to flesh out the entire story so that I gave myself a hard target to shoot for. Simply writing and writing and not knowing how this was going to end was craziness I didn’t want to endure.

      And the answer is…Philip Roth.

  2. I’m pretty sure Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck won it…don’t know about Roth. The first three are three of my faves, so they’re worthy. Like, all my faves are. Ha.

    Man, I’m working on NaNo at a nice leisurely pace. Not that I’ve thrown in the towel…got a GREAT story going…but, like you, a lot of changes are happening in the writing of it, like it has a mind of its own. It’s getting a helluva lot deeper than I thought it would, so I need to outline the story and the various relationship dynamics better. Putzing along as time allows. Not worried about making word count because I’m actually having fun and not stressing, which is the last thing I need right now.

    Oh…I posted an excerpt, if you wanna take a look. Rough draft, though.

    Feel better.

    • Part of me wants to go at it at a leisurely pace, and part of me wants to consume every second available. But like you, I’m not stressing. I have the story, and I know where it’s going, so making word counts is pretty irrelevant right now.

      I’ll check out your excerpt here in a bit.

    • I’m really thrilled the most about the synopsis. Having that one-sentence summary really gives me something to shoot for.

      Who knows, I might ask you to beta-read this before I submit this to an agent or publishers.

  3. Pingback: “The Lithium Shuffle,” Or: Fun With Music Playlists | Out Where the Buses Don't Run

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