On Wednesday night last week, the Novel in 6 writers gathered for a midway check-in.
We met at a local ale house. There are a couple new writers to the Columbia Writers group as a whole, so this was a nice opportunity to meet some of them. Since starting Ni6, I haven’t attended other group events such as critiques.
Besides getting to know each other, it’s great to hear about the various projects we’re working on. They are so interesting and diverse.
These kind of get-togethers are also a good opportunity to compare progress, share gripes, and encourage each other.
I felt pretty good that night, as I’d just passed 10,000 words written for Orphic—a solid milestone. Other writers (even in my own Ni6 group) have written more, but as long as one is making progress it’s important not to compare oneself to other writers negatively.
Checking in on the numbers
|Week Number||Weekly Word Count|
As you can tell, I need to be more consistent about with my writing each week on a macro and a micro level. On a macro level, I need to work on hitting my target weekly word count goal most or every week. On a micro level, I can do that by having fewer days with zero contributions.
It may be dismal to look at, but I’m glad to have these numbers in front of me. Numbers don’t care about your feelings, or when you had a bad week. They just present you with the facts.
This spreadsheet was created by Justin McLachlan for use in NaNoWriMo, and was modified by the Columbia Writers. I love feeding my numbers into it and seeing the colors climb from vicious red to bright green (theoretically; I’ve only seen pale yellow, so far).
However, I have made a couple adjustments, as you can see in the screenshot. When I inevitably take a night off, I need to know how many words I have to write each day for the rest of the week to make up for it. So I created a “left per day this week” field which divides the total words written for the week by the days left. I have to input the number of days left in the week (i.e., 7, 3, 2) manually. But it’s a good way to keep my nose to the grindstone when I’m tempted to call it early, or to write a few extra words so tomorrow won’t be as tough.
And the story?
When it comes to the novel itself, I’ve finished the key parts of the hook and moved on the inciting incident. As mentioned, I’m using K.M Weiland’s very excellent, very organized Scrivener template to tackle this project. It’s suited me well.
Unfortunately, I’ve already identified a couple significant changes that need to be made to the story.
First, I’m cutting my second major protagonist. I had two female leads, Carolina Davis and Naomi Tennyson, and I’m cutting it down to Carolina. I simply couldn’t justify the Naomi; she didn’t add enough to the story. Or, to be clear, she didn’t add enough that I couldn’t find elsewhere.
Mostly she acted as a force trying to bring the protagonist back to the “Ordinary World,” and I realized that I didn’t need that. Carolina wants to go back home, as most do when they’re thrust face first into an adventure. It’s a measure of trusting myself enough as a writer that I can convey that desire.
Second, and a more recent decision, I decided to revisit the antagonists. I had a global, world-threatening antagonist that was failing to be significant to story I wanted to tell in this book. So I’m cutting her from the story for now. Assuming all this is a success and I want to write a sequel, I could definitely see her coming back.
Removing this antagonist gives me the opportunity to promote three minor antagonists who I actually find more interesting. I’m going to do more of a dive into their backgrounds and give them more power and play in the plot.
Where do we go from here?
Here’s what’s left to do:
- Lock in a consistent writing practice.
- Finish outlining the second and third act.
- Keep writing!
- Keep a positive attitude.
The challenge is real. And here at the Novel in Six midway check-in, I’m not where I’d be in an ideal universe, but I’m also not dead in the water. I have a fighting chance of reaching my goal.
Novel in 6 has put me to the test as a writer, and I’m coming out stronger as a result.