Hero Meets Nemesis

I am the hero, in case anyone was wondering. My nemesis? The dreaded November 16th during National Novel Writing Month. I am gearing up to face this roguish fiend down. This is my 4th year participating in NaNoWriMo, and I’ve learned that this slump in the middle of the month is a trend for me, as it probably is for many others as well.

Up until this month, I’ve been dabbling with my most recently finished project, Holding, a YA fantasy about two boys, their forbidden magic, and the vampires that want to eat it. I finished the 2nd draft and am preparing to bind it for 3rd draft revisions, an idea I got from Maggie Stiefvater. After NaNoWriMo, I doubt I will have the desire to produce any new words ever, so I will be going through a physical book of my WIP, looking for pacing problems, character consistency, and tightening my theme. As stressed as I get about revisions and making sure every single letter is balanced within the universe, I also enjoy revisions because it’s like solving a problem…a very prolonged problem.

NanoWriMo is a little different for me. I could revise my old work for the rest of my life and probably be mostly content, but creating new, raw words is like squeezing juice from apricot pits for me. Especially creating raw, new words at the speed NaNoWriMo requires. BUT it gets my ideas out of my head and onto the page. And this is exactly why I do it.

Each year that I undertake this task, I dread confronting my old nemesis, the mid-month NaNoWriMo slump. For this year’s novel, I am returning to a long-time work in progress, Wrathmoor, a gothic romance (Annie Neugebauer has a great post on the gothic genre here) about a young lady posing as a housemaid to escape the tragedy of her past. The decaying old house, far from her old life, harbors ghosts that moan at night and an eccentric, brutal lord. I’m writing the novel in a tone appropriate to the time period, or attempting to, anyway. And because I depend so heavily on accuracy and research as I write, my usually slow progress with new novels is even slower with this one. You can see why this project might be a difficult one for NaNoWriMo, I assume?

So, how do I plan to combat my nemesis this year?



I will be listening to soundtracks (aren’t they pretty?) made by my illustrious best friend.  They probably won’t leave my CD player throughout this month. Also, this song and this entire score.


Img src: https://www.flickr.com/photos/56238066@N08/8110149754/

My Pinterest page for the novel has taken on new life through October in preparing for this month. I will be revisiting it anytime I feel uninspired. I’ve taken to referring to the above-image as a temporary cover for this project because I am utterly in love with it.

Books that feed me.

Revisiting the greats, like my inspirations for the novel and some of my favorite books: The Great Gatsby. The Fountainhead. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights. Also, I’ll be reading time-relevant works, old and new to catch a feel for the voice I want, like Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker for something new and The Woman in Black by Susan Hill for something older. I also couldn’t resist starting Confessions of an English Opium Eater. 


As King famously declares in On Writing, the muse doesn’t always just wait around, leaning temptingly against an ivy covered pillar. You have to schedule a standing appointment with that flighty twit. Ergo, at one point–well, many points throughout this month–I will have to just sit down and get the story out. It will be messy and that’s okay. This month is not about producing a perfect final draft.

That, my friends, is how I plan to prepare for this throw down with my nemesis.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month this year? How far are you already? How do you keep the words coming when you stall out? (And why are you reading blogs when you should be writing?)

6 thoughts on “Hero Meets Nemesis”

  1. I am participating. I won in thirteen days. Not to sound like an a-hole. But there it is. My average words per day was 3625. And honestly it’s all a blur. Nothing but pure focus, pure determination. Sitting down at my computer every night with the only thought “this is happening” and then… it happened. It’s been a 54k sprint down a rocky path while blindfolded. I feel like I’m in rehab after a thirteen day alcohol binge. I’ve gone without sleep and neglected other aspects of my life. After a month hiatus from writing, I needed this. Nanowrimo is doing for me what it’s supposed to do. It’s getting me writing, getting me to be creative on the fly, allowing me to prove to myself that even after ten years, this is still the thing I love to do the most. 🙂

    1. Look, you didn’t sound like an a-hole until you said ‘not to sound like an a-hole’. 😉 (It’s okay, people, that’s my best friend.) It is heartening to hear that your insane success wasn’t the result of knowing what you were doing. That gives hope to those of us still struggling to get the 1667/day minimum (Me!). I appreciate how grateful you are for the opportunity and encouragement NaNoWriMo provides to just go for it and prove to yourself how much you enjoy the blind, rabid creativity of writing. Your comment inspired me; thank you.

  2. Go! Go! Go! I love this post and (as ever) am inspired by your word counts, whether they are NaNo-worthy or not. Wrathmoor sounds awesome. Also, The Woman in Black has been on my reading list for a long time. Have you gotten around to it yet?

    1. Thank you, Juett. I have not gotten to The Woman in Black yet. Surprisingly (not), NaNo really slows down my reading. I’d like to read it sometime in December though if you’re schedule is open to catching it together.


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