November reading summary and NaNoWriMo recap

Well, it’s taken me all weekend to (mostly) recover from NaNoWriMo. I made achieved the 50k words in 30 days goal, but the first draft of book two isn’t done yet. Right now it’s looking like I’ll need to write a total of around 70-75k words to get to “the end” in this first draft. But still… Winner!!! πŸ™‚

NaNoWriMo is always a challenge for me. The “writing with abandon” mantra is not always a good fit with how I write. That’s partly why I enjoy participating. It pushes me a bit because it favors the pantser, and I like that it brings an infusion of serendipity and whimsy into my writing, because I’m a planner. I write really lean and organized first drafts. I don’t like writing words I’m just going to have to cut later. And I don’t write super fast, because I tend to edit as I go. Even though I tried not to edit during NaNoWriMo, it was pretty much impossible. So, I just wrote the way I write and took extra time to make sure I got to 50k words before the end of the month. It worked, but it took a lot out of me, as it does every year.

Based on the past few months of writing, I think a target of about 25k (new) words per month is probably about right for me in a non-NaNo month. I like to write every day, when I can, but I don’t like to feel like I have to write 1700 words every day. That’s about three hours of writing for me, when you factor in breaks. And I have other things I need to do in a day, even if I’m not “working” at a “real job.”

The other thing I figured out this month is that every single time I got stuck it was because I didn’t do a good enough job planning where I was going next or because I forgot to research something or figure out how I wanted it to work ahead of time. For example, I did a great job thinking through character names in October, because I know that always slows me down. But, I forgot to spend time working out the details around the magic system, and I didn’t do nearly enough prep around the capabilities and characteristics of my antagonist and her crew. So, some of those scenes were much slower to write then they needed to be. I may spend some time working out those details this week, now that the big push for words is over.

Since NaNoWriMo kept me busy in November, I didn’t have much time for reading. This is so unusual for me, but I only finished one book in November. I did get about halfway through Muse of Nightmares during Tome Topple, but the writing came first. So, as much as I’m loving that book, I didn’t allow myself much time to keep reading and finish it.

Seafire by Natalie Parker was the one book I finished in November, and it was pretty great. My only gripe was that it ended on a cliff-hanger. I wasn’t expecting that. For some reason, I hadn’t grasped that this was supposed to be a series. Even if I had, I still don’t think I would have anticipated that the book would end where it does. So, if cliff-hangers bug you, maybe wait until the next book is out to read this one. But, definitely add it to your TBR. I love the female pirate crew in this book. The characters are great, the friendships are so well done, the world-building for lives primarily lived on the sea or near the sea is thoughtful and logical. It’s listed as “fantasy,” but I’m not sure I would classify this as fantasy. It could be fantasy if you assume that the setting is meant to be secondary-world, but that world operates under laws of science like our own, so that’s why I think of it as more futuristic, possibly even post-apocalyptic, sci-fi. So, if you like your speculative fiction more on the plausibly realistic side, and if you like found family and female friendships, you definitely need to check this book out.

The first few weeks of December are going to continue to be busy as I finish this first draft, edit a novella, and prep different novella for release later this month. My goal is to have everything wrapped up by launch day (12/18), and then spend the rest of the year reading, hanging out with family, and having a little reflection and goal setting time in my bullet journal. But, don’t worry, I’ll definitely be posting for “Top Five Wednesday” and other fun stuff throughout the month.

Until then…Happy last month of the year! Happy reading! And happy holidays!

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