NaNoWriMo 2020 – The Challenges So Far

NaNoWriMo 2020 – The Challenges So Far by Benjamin Collier

We’re almost one week into November. How is everyone doing with their NaNo projects?

I’ve been caught off guard by the amount of unexpected challenges this time around. It’s been a bit more than just general life stuff, which is to be an expected part of the challenge. There’s also been some issues come up that make it difficult to sit at the computer sometimes, and this 4-day-long Election Day in the U.S. has been a big moment in history, worth keeping updated on throughout the day, sometimes making it difficult to concentrate on other worlds!

I’ve also had irregular sleep hours this past week (which is not too unusual for me, but does effect scheduling). I’ve been behind in my daily quotas for a few days, and stressing about catching up, but I’m relieved to be able to say that I’ve finally caught up with my own schedule and reached 10,027 words today!

So far my approach has been mainly to write out specific scenes that I’ve got fairly solid in my mind, at least to make up the daily quotas, and then going back to the chronological order whenever I feel like I’ve got an idea of what to write for the next scene. Under the time restraint, there’s certainly been more “pantsing” than I would normally do, but it has pressed me to spit out pure imagination more frequently, which I believe is a big point of the whole exercise.

It helps that a big part of what I’m writing is goblin characters and goblin culture, and that they tend to be bizarrely creative with how they operate. Ideas that come to mind that most sane people would never do (and I like to think that most of my characters as sane) are perfect fodder for armies of orcs. So this story is actually a context in which a lot of these crazy ideas would believably make sense.

I’m also glad to be able to say that I’ve finally finished my opening scene XD. But the fact that I struggled with it so much has got me curious. I wonder if it’s more difficult to write action sequences before establishing the world in which they takes place. Action is certainly how I felt this story should begin, it’s one of the concepts that I’ve had in my mind the longest, but perhaps it would have been easier on myself to spend just a bit of time establishing the environment before throwing the reader (and  myself) into the action. I certainly think it’s better to catch two birds with one stone (catch because I’m nice) if you can write action in such a way as to establish some things about that world while you do it. I wonder if other writers find it a challenge too.

~ Ben