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A week into 30 day novel, the game has changed


By Josette Keelor and Jeb Inge

National Novel Writing Month began on Nov. 1, and now, a week into an attempt at writing 50,000 words in 30 short days, two of the Daily's writers have seen some challenges.

First time NaNoWriMo participant, Jeb Inge, started the month with a story idea he has been planning for awhile but never found the time to pursue. He had hoped that the Nov. 30 deadline would spark some needed motivation.

Fifth time participant, Josette Keelor, thought this year's fantasy story idea would make for a more enjoyable writing experience than last year's horror novel did.

How has the first week been?

Inge: From what I've read, most people have a first week "creative high" and then come down the second week. I'm desperately hoping the opposite is true in my case.

Keelor: My first week went really well. I stayed on track, which was a little surprising to me, after the experience I had last year. I wrote in my blog last year on day eight that I had 9,120 words. This year, on Thursday, I finished with 13,398 words.

The biggest change, however, since last year's experience, has been that I'm actually enjoying writing this book.

What challenges/successes have you had?

Inge: The last night of the week I actually managed to write around 2,000 words, which is something I'll probably have to do the rest of the month just to meet my goal.

Keelor: I haven't really had that many challenges yet. I thought I would have to look at my outline a lot more than I actually have, but it's been more fun to write with only minimal scaffolding. The hardest part was in the first two days, trudging through the introductions before the action started.

The first success was when a relationship formed between the princess and another character, who was supposed to be someone minor. This made his death much more meaningful.

Has your story changed much from the initial idea?

Inge: Fortunately I didn't have much of a story idea before the month started, so it's hard for "nothing" to fall apart.

Keelor: There have been some new scenes I added that were not in the outline, but I think spontaneity has made the story even better. My plan was for the princess to return to her kingdom to find it under siege and therefore turn right around to go find help. Instead, she runs flat out into her kingdom, which she doesn't realize is besieged until it's too late and she has to think quickly to get away. That new scene introduces a character I didn't plan for, and he definitely has made things more interesting.

Has your strategy changed based on the first week?

Inge: Start writing. A lot. Like every day. Which I guess is what you're supposed to do anyway.

Keelor: It has not changed, necessarily. I still write when I can and join in on community write-ins with other NaNoWriMo participants, who list upcoming writing sessions on www.nanowrimo.org and on Facebook. We don't get in that much writing during some write-ins, but we have a lot more fun sharing ideas.

Despite what I wrote last week about preferring to write in the early mornings, over the last seven days, I have written mostly at night, writing my favorite scene so far at about midnight.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com

Contact Region Editor Jeb Inge at 540-465-5137, ext. 186, or jinge@nvdaily.com



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