NaNoWriMo Day 3

NaNoWriMo par: 1,667 words/day
NaNoWriMo total: 5,000 words
Personal par: 2,000 words/day
Personal total: 6,783 words

I figured that today would be the first tough day of NaNoWriMo for me.  That’s because I knew well how to introduce the story and that the Prologue (which was written Sunday and Monday) would be almost like a self-contained short story.  Today I started Chapter 1 and I was less certain of how it would go.  That’s because I introduce 4 main characters in the chapter, provide some of their background details and also the purpose as to why they are gathering together.  In a short story, this could be done in a few paragraphs, but in a novel, it seems to me, more depth and back-story is required.  The tricky part for me is ensuring that the back-story is interesting, adds to the characters, and is relevant to the story as well.

I tackled it by assuming that my chapters would be long chapters, broken up by shorter sub-chapters.  In Chapter 1, therefore, there are 5 sub-chapters.  Four people are getting together for a meeting.  The first four sub-chapters introduce each of the four characters, as they wait for or arrive at the meeting site.  It gives some back-story and also illustrates (I hope) how the characters are interrelated.  The 5th sub-chapter will describe the meeting itself.  This has helped me frame some of the other chapters, too, which will introduce more characters, but also allows me to treat a chapter as a kind of short story (or novelette, or novella, as the case may be), with a specific theme, a beginning, middle, end, and carrying the overarching story forward one step at a time–while hopefully keeping the reader interested in both the story and the characters.

I was up at 5 am, after going to bed earlier than expected last night–after I decided that the Yankees probably would not win the series last night.  (They didn’t).  I got started around 5:10 am.  It was slow going at first, I think by 6 am, I had about 800 words, so that I wrote about 1,200 words in the last 70 minutes or so.  I wrote sub-chapters 1 and 2, and a few paragraphs of sub-chapter 3.  Just after 7 am, I finally checked my word count and found it to be 1,998 words.  So I added a few more sentences to give me a good start for tomorrow and finished the day off at 2,503 words, beating my personal goal for the third day in a row.  At 6,783 words, I am now 1,783 words above NaNoWriMo par for day 3, which means I could miss a full day of writing and still be on par.  I don’t plan on missing any days, however.  In fact, if I could manage it, I’d love to write more than 2,200 words tomorrow.  That would put me at the 9,000 word mark after just 4 days.

Incidentally, today I used my new Bose QuietComfort 15 Noise Canceling headphones while writing.  I bought them yesterday to use while I am writing.  Although the office I have at the new house is by far the biggest (and nicest) I’ve had yet, there is no door.  I researched headsets and these seemed to be the best.  They were amazing.  I couldn’t even hear the keys on the keyboard clicking.  All I could hear were my thoughts, clear and unfiltered.  I think part of the reason this morning’s session was easier than I thought it would be was because of this clarity of thought the headphones helped bring about.

As a funny side-note, as I was wrapping up at just after 7, I realized that Kelly was not yet up.  She’d wanted to head into work early today.  I figured I was going to head upstairs and find her and the baby still asleep.  I was about to do just that when they both came down, fully showered, dressed and ready to start the day.  The noise-canceling headset blocked out the noise from upstairs, including the shower.

I plan to finish up Chapter 1 tomorrow if I can.  I think there is at least 2,200 words left in that chapter and so I think it is a pretty reasonable goal.  I’m already starting to think about what Chapter 2 will be about, and I probably need to makes some more notes on that.  I also need to work on my story time line.  The story spans over a long period of time, in part because of relativistic space travel and the effects of time dilation.  I have a spreadsheet to help me keep track of some of this, but I realize now that it requires some updating.  There’s no World Series game tonight so I may be able to squeeze some of it in then.

Incidentally, my Kindle wirelessly received my pre-ordered copy of Jack McDevitt’s Time Traveler’s Never Die, and I am excited to get started on that.  I am close to finishing Stephen King’s Night Shift, so I will hopefully start on Jack’s new book soon.  I’m really looking forward to it.

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.