Writing in the Dark

Is it the long nights of the season? There is definitely something in the air and it is called NOVEL WRITING. I’m fast & furious as I round the corner on page 250 in my mystery novel-in-progress. It’s still a first draft—solid, but a little sloppy and perhaps a little loopy, too. The change of season has accelerated my progress. It’s write, write, write until THE END.

I began this draft in the spring, took a few weeks off here and there when I was traveling and now it’s a straight shot to the last page. I have a few twists and turns, and very red herrings to spring in the lead up to the conclusion. It won’t be perfect, but it will be done by the end of the year. Then, I’ll let it sit a bit before considering the second draft.

November is National Novel Writing Month and, although I’m not participating, I’m fascinated by the phenomenon of writers racing to the finish line, supporting, nudging, monitoring progress and all aiming for 50,000 words in one month’s time. It’s a cooperative process designed to encourage what is, by its nature, a solo endeavor.

It sounds amazing. It sounds wonderful. And it’s not for me.

The last thing I want is accountability—owing other writers pages by a deadline. My freelance writing is all about cooperation and deadlines. I write fiction without an external voice—or a chorus of voices—urging me on. Fiction, for me, is driven by my internal tempo. Maybe it’s a monster’s rhythm? But it demands that I WRITE and I obey.

That’s why I’m captivated by the idea of NaNoWriMo. The blogosphere is alive with NaNoWriMo (NaNoWriM2015), it’s featured on Facebook and Twitter is all a flutter. It’s like many fantastic adventures and enterprises that I know are not for me. I don’t want to live at the North Pole, ride a camel through the Sahara or take a trip in a submarine, but I do want to hear about all of them.

So if you are in the midst of your NaNoWriMo manuscript, please tell me how it’s going. I think you’re in the middle of an adventure and that always makes a great story!

My writing 'partner' enjoys sitting on the printer.

My writing ‘partner’ enjoys sitting on the printer.


  1. Yes, nano is certainly in the air at the moment, isn’t it? I love doing nano, but not every year. In fact, I’ve only ever done 2 because in between times I’ve always been busy working on ideas triggered by nano.

    I know some people use nano as a way of forcing themselves to write. Others use it as a way of short-circuiting the editor-inside [me] while others still just enjoy the social aspects. Back in 2004 when I did my first nano, the nano forums were literally the only place I knew of where writers could get together and talk about anything [but mostly writing].

    Nowadays I’ve found a whole world of writers to talk to, but I still retain a bit of that old nostalgia.

    • Candy Korman

      At the risk of being repetitive, I’m completely fascinated by the process and, at the same time, it’s NOT tempting in the least. I wonder, was it the support you got for continuing to work on your manuscript? Or, was it simply the knowledge that you were not alone?

      Writing can be lonely. That’s a given. And yet I like the ‘controlling the universe’ aspect of writing fiction. I think all writers do.

  2. Hmm…I did that first one with a friend so there was a bit of the competitive aspect to it, and I did enjoy the social aspects, but I think what I enjoyed the most was uploading my wordcount at the end of every day. Such a stupid little thing, yet watching my word ‘meter’ fill up became almost addictive. In fact I think I wrote something like 70,000 words that first time. I was more quality over quantity the second time around. 🙂

    I guess it’s fun, and yet productive as well. -shrug-

    • Candy Korman

      Uploading the word count… interesting.
      I keep track of pages and when I checked out the NaNoWriMo website, I immediately checked the word count on the novel-in-progress. I’m up to more than 63,000. But that’s the product of months of work. I guess the question is, when you write very, very quickly how much of those words to you keep? More to the point, do you get a good first draft or do you get the experience of getting a story down on paper? Both are good. Both are valuable.

    • Candy Korman

      That and less temptation to run outside and play?
      Nice long night, long dark thoughts and dark, dark stories.