NaNoWriMo: End of Week 2

clear hour glass with brown frame
The time is half-run out… Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Half way through. And two thirds of the word count done, thanks to not yet needing to use the wordcount buffer.

Three circles of hell

Many writers will have hit the pain point this week. The general pattern of Nano looks something like this:

  • Starting third: 1-17,000 words – a breeze, all the ideas you’ve been mulling over ahead of Nano pour forth
  • Middle third: 17,000-35,000 words – an increasing struggle, as inspiration dries up and exhaustion sets in
  • Final third: 35,000-50,000 words – the home stretch, the worst is behind you, everything feels a lot easier as you race towards the finish line

Right now, most writers will be stuck in the dreaded Middle Third. Don’t despair! Claw your way up and out as best you can, and you’ll start seeing the light again.

50,000 *is* a novel

Many people like to criticise 50,000 words as “too short” or call it a “novella”. Ignore them. It’s an ample length to print and have a normal-sized spine. It’s also more than ample for an eBook where readers perceive the length (and weight) of a novel differently. Just consider these:

  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – 53,000 
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – 46,333
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell – 29,000
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald – 50,061
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – 30,000

More here. You’re in very good company!

Software support

It would be a struggle to write the way I do without professional writing software. It allows me to jump all over the place and easily reorder sections. With a parallel flashback narrative running through this novel, moving chapters around has been even more vital this time.

I use Scrivener, which works on all platforms including mobile. You can read a bit about it here. They often do discounts during Nanowrimo.

One more tip: don’t forget to back up!  Just the other day I read the sorry tale of a young author who hadn’t even saved. Seven thousand words lost in a second. If you can’t get your head around the Cloud, at least email your draft to yourself each night. Gmail and other free email services will usually keep a copy online indefinitely.