Camp NaNoWriMo: Checking In

Today is the halfway point, so I thought it would be a good time to update.

My combined word count as of yesterday for writing/editing: 32,980/50,000.

It’s clear I’m going to “win,” because boy, howdy, is line editing faster for me than writing new material. My highest daily word count so far is 4,113, and on the days I was tracking my start and stop times, I clocked rates of anywhere from 1500-2000 words an hour.

The funny thing is, I don’t actually know how long the second draft of Fifty-Five Days is that I’m editing, so I don’t know how much more I have to go beyond the standard 50K goal. I wrote it completely on 4thewords, divided into separate chapter files. But I’ve got the original and my failed 2018 rewrite stored there, too, for easy access; each draft in a separate folder under the parent project. I know the project as a whole is currently at 300K–but the individual folders don’t have totals! I’ll either have to add the count for each chapter up (not a chore I look forward to) or transfer all the material to a single document that will count for me (not something I plan to do until I have a draft someone else gets to read.)

Most of my novel drafts clock in somewhere between 95-110K, but even if that “feels” right for this, that’s still a big window. And it actually could be longer, I cut quite a few chapters but I think I added at least as many new ones.


Whatever the total is, the plan at this point is to keep working until it’s done. Draft four (or maybe, more accurately, 3.5) can start immediately after that, no break necessary, when I drag this draft over the coals of my filler-word list to make the language even tighter and neater than I’m doing now.

The world may have gone to pieces around me in the spring, and I had some setbacks, but Camp NaNo is giving me the push to get back to work and hopefully still get this book out in 2020. That was the goal, and I’m sticking to it!

Actual Writing Content: I’m Doing Camp NaNoWriMo!

After a long slump during the pandemic, I am working on Fifty-Five Days again. This rewrite has been difficult, but over the weekend I finished the new chapter I was stuck on for two months. (It stinks, but it’s done. There’s definitely at least one more drafting cycle coming before anyone but me sees this book in its entirety.)

I already know I respond productively to externally imposed structure–I’ve won all six NaNo events I’ve participated in since I started this blog, as well as twice before under a different name–so with Camp NaNo coming in July, this seemed like the right time to capitalize on someone else “making” me do something in order to keep myself motivated.

My plan: between now and July, keep working on the rewrite. I’ve got three chapters left of the first draft to work through, but I’m expanding the ending to cover what I breezed past originally (this ALWAYS happens to me with first drafts) so it may be as many as five or six more chapters between me and the end of the story.

For Camp: finish rewriting whatever I have left to do, then immediately start over with a line-editing/polishing draft. I know the conventional wisdom is to set a draft aside for a while before starting the next one, but I just took a nearly-three-month break from this, and I’ve had time to ponder what I still know is wrong with the story even if I didn’t finish this draft before the break. I feel ready to work again, and NaNo has always been an excellent motivator for me. The word count goal is still 50K words, which is not the entire draft, but I don’t want to set it higher because line editing is picky, delicate work, especially the way my process has grown over the years. Will it be faster than a full rewrite? Oh, lordy, I hope so. Will I get the entire draft done in a month? Probably not.

If any of you folks are participating as well, I’d love to add you to my friends list on the site! As I’m sure will be no surprise to anyone, over there I’m Elena Johansen. Happy writing!