Anatomy of a NaNoWriMo Novel

As I approach the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word finish line with only 1455 words to go as I write this, I realize that my novels tend to progress like an oil painting.  The finished product is a result of layers and layers of pencil, charcoal and pigment.

First there is the pencil sketch, the basic story idea:

A few of the details are crisp, such as the protagonist is a female.  So I freely use feminine pronouns, give her a name, maybe even describe her a little.  Otherwise I make a beeline to get to the end while including all the necessary plot points.

Last year I was horrified when what I thought would be a 50k word category romance wrapped up this phase at a mere 35k words.  I bit my nails over every word of those 15k words of backfill and embellishment.

Wiser now, I know and expect that this year’s NaNo, planned at 90k, will start to coast to the plot finish line around 65k, methinks.

The next phase, I begin to expand certain scenes, add some charcoal shading.  I like to write romance, so the sex scenes don’t require much discipline on my part to buckle down and flesh out.  To keep my blog PG and protect my reader’s sensibilities, I’ve resorted to digital tricks to hide the naughtier bits.  You’ll have to use your imagination, but there’s a reason she’s smiling.

Time for some additional character development.  I might add a few reflective moments or a short scene to add some personality or insight into what motivates her.  Ditto with the other characters.  And yes, those are purple shoes she’s wearing.  I do add a touch of purple prose from time to time to keep my writing from being too sparse and clinical.  Probably not enough, but me, I don’t like to read nor write it all that much so a little goes a long way.

So speaking of purple, this is when I might add more setting information, perhaps work in a few tiny infodumps.

The first draft would at least be a complete picture.  Second draft will look like a paint by numbers, you know, where all the colors abruptly start and stop.  But at least it won’t look like a cartoon.

Junior Paint by Numbers – Dogs & Kittens PPNJ26–purchase here









Final draft hopefully will look like this:

I may be working on this one for a while.  So any interested beta readers (or those who beta to humor me), you can kick back and relax, watch a movie, read War and Peace.

4 thoughts on “Anatomy of a NaNoWriMo Novel

  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhahahahaha! Now how much time did it take to create this that you SHOULD have spent writing, missy?!??! 🙂 🙂 Though I have to say, this is completely priceless. LOL LOL LOL I think my stages are:
    1) Fully clothes with scenery
    2) take the clothes off
    Can you draw me some pictures for my blog?
    haaaaaaahahahahah! 🙂

    • I know…procrastinating. I just haven’t been feeling the love consistently on this one, mostly because I’ve been plowing forward instead of back tracking to edit earlier scenes to a higher level of satisfaction. Stick figures aren’t as much fun to look at day after day.

      And you do NOT want me to draw for you. My Paint skills leave a lot to be desired. LOL

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