NaNoWriMo 2011: We’re Halfway There!

It’s November 15, and you know what that means?  We’re half-finished with the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge.  It’s my first year participating since 2008, and it’s time for me to take a step back and evaluate my progress so far.

So what is your progress so far?

Word Count: 25,016

Chapter Count: 12 completed, 13 in progress

And your progress as a writer?

This is the big question.  I’m convinced this year’s NaNoWriMo project – while not my first – has massively affected my style of writing, at least in terms of how I look at a plot.  While I do like having a base to build on – my outline – I’ve really learned about just letting things happen.  I do have a tendency to overplan, especially when it comes to the conflict portion, and that leaves little space for character development.

This novel has done plenty to improve my character development, although that’s mostly taken the form of Victoria doing a lot of cooking.

How stressed out are you feeling?

I don’t think anybody wants to know the answer to that.  If you know anyone participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I think you already know the answer.  If you don’t, congratulations.

Check back soon to get more guest posts, information, and more.  If you just can’t wait, read or re-read this awesome post by Mike Martinez or my own post about word padding.  People like them.  Check it out and comment.


Published by Feliza

Feliza Casano is a writer and editor with a love of speculative fiction, graphic novels, and good books. She writes and edits at Girls in Capes ( and contributes to other websites on science fiction and fantasy topics.

3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2011: We’re Halfway There!

  1. I’m not exactly stressed – in fact, your “halfway there” reminded me it’s still doable, in spite of work and signing up for a blogging contest that’s truly eating my lunch!

    I find that when I overplan a work of fiction, it turns all wooden on me – it’s like moving puppets around on stage. When I relax and listen for the characters to tell me their stories – to SHOW me their stories – and I just “take dictation” from them, it’s magic. It’s almost like a trance state, similar to the one I get in when immersing myself in reading an excellent novel that I don’t want to see end.


    1. At least you’re still doing it! I’m motivated primarily by a bet I have with my boyfriend: a race to 50,000 words. Winner picks a local sushi restaurant, loser pays. Both of us are poor college students, so it’s very…. motivational.

      I love that point – the point where the characters are just doing what they like. I’ve been having such a hard time reaching that point, though – most of what I’ve been doing is shuffling my poor characters along towards things I know HAVE to happen, specific conflicts which are essential to the plot. But the group I’m in, UT Writer’s Guild, is having a write-in marathon Sunday – seven hours in a coffee shop – and I feel like I can really hit my stride there. Hopefully, that can happen!


  2. That first year – when I actually finished? I came to a point where my 13 year old protagonist decided to SULK. It felt like dragging a two-dimensional cardboard cutout figure around an old, dusty stage. Why? Because I switched from letting him tell the story in 1st person POV, to writing it in 3rd person POV, so I could do some “head hopping.” It had to be done, but he hated me for about a week.

    I got tired of mollycoddling him. Granted, he was charmingly precocious – but really, sulking was getting on my nerves. So I had a little mental chat with him.

    “Look, keep it up and I will dress you in your sister’s clothes and send you off to middle school that way.”

    His sister was a provocative teen going through a Goth phase. SO not the younger brother’s style.

    Yeah, he straightened up and cooperated real quick, after that. Amazing. There’s a fine line, some days, between “creative writer” and “crazy person.”



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