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My NanoWriMo Journey So Far

You may recall that I recently wrote a post about whether I should sign up for national novel writing month. Well, in case you were wondering(!), I did sign up and ten days in to November, I have 30,000 words written.

I got off to a flying start last weekend. My husband took our youngest son to Legoland and no offence to them, of course, but it was so quiet at home. The girls were happy to relax indoors and get on with their own thing. They caught up on reading, watched the odd film or two and we walked up to town to make the most of the lovely sunshine. In between times I powered on and my story just flowed.

It gave me the head start I needed because I wasn’t sure how much time I had during the week and it also allowed me to calm down and not panic so much about whether this whole project was going to be achievable.

Last week I had so much fun with my writing. Ok, so it meant getting up at 6am every morning and power typing, but luckily I was able to get the words out of my head. My character went to London and then on to Paris and by the time I had finished doing all the research, I felt as though I had been there with him too!

A useful tool I discovered last week was Google Street View. Anywhere I wanted to go, I typed in the name of, found the address and looked it up on google maps. When switching to street view I could almost transport myself there. It is interactive too, which meant that I could change the view by either clicking on the image or moving the yellow man along on a smaller map that sits at the bottom left of the page.

It realy helped me get a sense of the places I put my character in to. I was able to see for myself what the surrounding area looked like and how I could transport him from A to B. The only thing missing was a sense of the surrounding smells!

I reference real-life places and streets in Camden Town and Paris in this story and I hope this will give it that all important sense of place. Short of going there myself (which would be lovely), this was the next best alternative.

At the end of the week I stalled dramatically. My character had to leave Paris and head to Barcelona (well he didn’t have to, but that was how it panned out) and I wasn’t sure how to get him there. I’m not just talking in terms of transport here, but how it would fit in to the storyline. I had to take a step back from writing this weekend in order to plan how I could move the story forward. It highlighted some problem areas early on and it made me realise there are huge gaps to be filled. It was difficult to resist the urge to go back and amend them.

That’s not what this exercise is about though. I found a way to get him to his next destination and ploughed on with the writing. What I have learned about NanoWrimo is the importance of getting the story down. It is crude and has no flesh or bones whatsoever, but as a fellow writer described it this morning, this month is about creating the skeleton of your story.

It will be hard to maintain the level of enthusiasm that I had last week, but hitting 30,000 words showed me that I can do this. I have stuck roughly to my original plan and the story is still going in the right direction. I can already see the end in sight.

How is your writing going this month?

Writing Bubble


  1. Mummy Tries says

    Oh Nikki what a fab start! Love that you’ve been using interactive street maps too, tools like that must make fiction writing so much easier than in the olden days. Well done on resisting rhe temptation to start editing and just cracking on with the writing. Can’t wait to hear more! #whatimwriting

  2. maddy@writingbubble says

    I’m so impressed! 30,000 words already – it’s only day 11! I like the idea of using google street maps. I use it sometimes when I’m going somewhere unknown but I’ve never thought to use it for book research purposes. Keep up the good work (although you’ve had a such a great start to NaNo that you could have a bit of time off any time you like)! Thanks for linking to #WhatImwriting xx

  3. sophieblovett says

    Sounds like you’ve had an amazingly productive November so far! I’m still not sure I could manage NaNo – I think I’m too much of a perfectionist to write at that pace – but the way you describe it I can certainly see its value. I hope your story keeps flowing – looking forward to the next update! X

    • Nicola Young says

      I like a deadline as it really motivates me, but if the story wasn’t flowing I would really struggle under the pressure of that deadline. I am loving it though. So glad I decided to go for it.

  4. Emily Organ says

    That’s amazing progress! Well done. I’ve used Google Street View lots for writing my current book as the settings include New York and London. It’s really handy for detailed description. I know what you mean about linking parts of the story together. In the first draft I usually put in the main chunks to start with and then come up with the bridges later for joining them together. I hope you get through the tricky plot bit, it’s hard when it flows and then you reach a stumbling block. Wishing you the best of luck with the rest of it.

    • Nicola Young says

      This is good practice for not worrying about the little details and just getting the bulk of the story down. I couldn’t have wrote some of the bits without the research along the way though. You need to picture yourself right where your character is. Would be great to go to New York for research purposes though wouldn’t it?

  5. chrissie (@rantybeast) says

    30k? WELL DONE! That’s good going. I’m on about 24k and starting to lose steam (which is normal). It’s great that you haven’t gone back to fill in your gaps – that’s the point of NaNoWriMo. Editing can be a complete horrible evil wotnot though (as you know!) I’ve never thought about using Street View like that before, what a great idea! I’m curious about your character now.

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