Nanowrimo-The Murky Middle

Congrats! You’ve made it to the murky middle of *Nanowrimo!

If you’re participating in Nanowrimo this year, kudos to you! If you’re not, that’s okay too. Nanowrimo doesn’t fit into everyone’s schedule. For some, it can cause severe stress and anxiety. Or, if you do participate and then don’t win, that can be disheartening. Putting the pressure on yourself, in somewhat of a public setting takes courage and can be nerve-racking. You make the choice for yourself and what you think you can handle based on your daily agenda and where you’re currently at with your writing. I think the purpose of Nanowrimo is to get you in the habit of writing often, or every day. It challenges you to set a goal and stretches you to reach that goal.

This year I wasn’t going to participate in Nanowrimo. I participated and won in 2017 and 2018. The reason why I wasn’t going to is because those two manuscripts I wrote those two years are still sitting there with 50-60k words in first draft form. But I found myself on medical leave from my day job after a surgery and with an outlined plot for a new manuscript. So I decided to participate for my third year.

If you’re following along with the goal of reaching 50k by the end of November, then you’ve probably reached around 25k by now. I’ve always found reaching the middle of any novel, regardless of Nanowrimo or not gets you to the “murky middle” or “saggy middle” and it can be the place a lot of writers want to give up. It’s a tough place to be. The thing I always try to remember is, if the middle of my book is boring for me, it’s definitely going to be boring for my reader. So the key is to keep the pace going and the momentum building so it doesn’t become “saggy”. Save some of those smaller “ah-ha” moments, or twists/turns, or secrets for the middle. Don’t give them all away in the first 3 chapters or save all the big reveals for the ending. If you give them away too soon or too late, your reader will either quit reading your book because you’ve already revealed all the good stuff, or because they’ve lost interest from not revealing things soon enough.

With Nanowrimo-because the point is to reach 50k in the month of November, if I become too bogged down by the middle, I’ll move straight to the ending, the downhill slope. If your novel has been outlined or plotted enough, you usually know the ending. I focus on that. I write all of the big reveals, the two love interests make their way back to one another so that happily-ever-after can be achieved. Sometimes, writing the ending actually helps me to go back and write the middle, making sure the character arcs are all there and the pacing is moving along so that the ending makes sense.

Good luck Nanowrimo participants! Halfway done, halfway to go. We got this!!

*Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month; where the goal is to write 50k words during the month of November. Check out the details on their site: https://nanowrimo.org

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