NaNoWriMo, Outlines, and a Sweaty Wad of Life / by Matthew Marchitto

This year's NaNoWriMo, unsurprisingly, went pretty horribly. I’m some 40k words short of the goal, and unless some divine intervention happens, I’m not going to hit the 50k mark. The month started off great, I was hitting the daily goals and trucking along feeling good, and then a sweaty wad of life decided to fling itself into my face. Long story short, a false alarm had me in the hospital for 12 hours (everything is fine), but that threw me out of whack for the rest of the month.

But maybe it was for the best, because as I continued to write the story that I outlined, I started to realize, “wow, I’m getting near the end really fast.” I don’t know if I’m eager to be done with it, or if this novel was secretly a short story the whole time, but right now it's feeling a lot like a short story. I’ve thought of ways to expand it, but it feels like it would just be bloating up the story with filler. No one likes filler.  

Am I sticking too close to the outline? I mentioned in a previous post that the outline was basically a long synopsis, and I wonder if I’m sticking too close to the information therein, and not letting myself explore the world and characters. But another part of me thinks that I just want to be done with this by the end of November and move on. That’s probably not a good way to view your work. I might be trying to get too many ideas down on the page at once. I have several ideas for books and short stories, and even comics, but I can’t do them all at once (a problem many people have). It might be time to take a step back and go, “what should I focus on?” Because right now it feels like my brain is all over the place.