Thankful Thursday: critique partner edition

Last night I met with my critique group (Writing Roosters) which always results in renewed energy and inspiration. What was different about last night’s experience is that I came home with a whole new game plan for my work-in-progress. A kinda scary yet exhilerating plan!

Laura Perdew and I were talking before the others arrived and after describing where I was at in my new project (outlining, figuring out stuff, writing VERY VERY slowly), she suggested I do NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month takes place in November and participants set a goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve never done it before (although back in the glory days of LiveJournal I used to participate in writer Jo Knowles’s modified JoNoWriMo+1.5 which ran September 15-November 30).

Normally, I’m not a proponent of banging out a whole bunch of words in a short time because I know how easily I can get off track. Fast-drafting can also lead to SLOW revising as I struggle to make sense of the “story” I created. However, I think I can get myself set by November 1 so that I have a strong outline and characterization in place before writing this book. I realize that part of the reason for the SLOW writing on this project thus far is due to me second-guessing every other word. I need to give myself permission to get the story down as outlined and then revise from there.

So. Today I’m grateful for my critique partner’s kick in the butt.

I’m in for NaNoWriMo. Anyone else participating this year?

7 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday: critique partner edition

  1. I don’t know about this year, but I’ve done it before and wrote the rest of a book that I had just started. It was helpful for me just to enter the number of words that I’d written each day and see the visual of that compared to the goal. As you mentioned, it’s also a challenge for me not to keep going back and revising, and I often did read the chapters from the day before and make a few changes. Still, I wrote about 50,000 words. Good luck to you!

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    • Congratulations on finishing a book like that! I think that word count visual is going to be extremely motivating during the process! I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to reread a bit (I consider that my “running start” when I settle in to write) and will probably do it in November, too.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with me, Becky. And thanks for the good wishes!

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  2. That sounds like a great idea, Tracy. I am a champion second-guesser, and sometimes it really helps me to set an impossible deadline. I’ve never done Nano (or written 50K in any month!) but I gave myself 30 days to bang out a rough, rough draft of the second Ra book, which made me stop second-guessing and just get on with things. Wishing you lots of luck!

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    • I’m impressed you imposed a 30-day deadline for your second Ra book AND kept to it! That’s inspirational. I’m hoping this whole process will keep the second-guessing to a minimum. I really, really don’t enjoy being in that mode. Thank you for sharing your approach and good wishes, Amy!


      • Writing fast is definitely not my natural mode. But it really does help me keep the second-guessing (and all the rest of my writerly angst) down to a manageable level. Well, mostly. And it was WONDERFUL to have a full draft at the end of it. Grant, the draft needed quite a bit of work in places (I threw out some chapters completely), but I’m generally happier revising than drafting.

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        • Did you have a strong outline in place before drafting those 30 days? I’m worried I won’t have enough planned out to keep me from going off on a tangent that will take forever to fix later.


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