NaNoWriMo Day 24: Thanksgiving Week


Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes At this point in NaNoWriMo I’m tempted to say that process is more important than product. That the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. That the hard work invested to reach the finish line is more important than actually crossing it. That 25.9 miles is the same as 26.2. That Thanksgiving week is a time to shelve NaNos for turkey and mash potatoes.   

Well, screw all that. If we’d signed up for 31,003 words of sparkling prose we would have, well, signed up for a writing class. Instead we chose the NaNo – a 50,000+ word hyper novel that promises to be so messy, mystifying, and grammatical and structurally challenged our own grandmothers won’t praise it. Good for us. Let’s finish this thing off. 

I’m giving NaNo thanks this Thanksgiving week. Two days off work; multiple family members in town, which means multiple babysitting options; and endless chicken salad sandwiches, yam casseroles, and my mother-in-law’s famous “Cherry Squares.” What’s not to like from a NaNo perspective?  Especially when you’ve got less than a week to go and you’re still behind in the word count.

One issue that’s held me back this past week is research. Almost every novel requires some level of research, and my NaNo is no exception. I’m trying to figure out if a kid can sue his parents for release of custody because they've made him obese. And if so, what the trial might look and sounds like. My Internet research and badgering of lawyer friends has yielded little expertise. And without expertise, I’ve been hesitant to write a few key legal scenes. Then I remembered The Most Important Rule in the History of Important NaNo Rules: Keep writing! So I plowed through the scenes as I imagined they would happen, and took comfort in the fact they could be authenticated at a later date. Like, December.

All of this leads to this week’s NaNo questions:

Does your NaNo require research? If so, how are you balancing research with writing?

  • Where does your NaNo stand?

  • Is your Thanksgiving week going to hold you back or push you through? Black Friday shopping or writing? Or both?

  • And of course, what are you eating on Thursday?

WilliamSTiernan William Scott Tiernan will happily respond to “William” or “Scott” or “Tsung Chi” — and he enjoyed being called “Mr. T” by his former middle school students. He doesn’t enjoy being called “Hey, you!” by his 3-year-old daughter. He may be 0-1 on NaNo, but he’s written for
YourTango, The Laurel of Asheville, Western North Carolina Parent, and of course, WEbook. He’s seeking representation for his YA novel, Dornoch Walking.


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  1. Research is one aspect which I tend to overemphasize too much. As a result, I think way too much compared to the quantity I write. So the thought to write ratio is really high.
    Therefore, for the next four days I am going to try to turn off my research mentality just as I have had to shut down my inner editor. Woot! almost 30k words in 4 days. If I manage to pull this off, I will probably spend the next month in a state of shock and exhaustion.

  2. I usually don't research for stories, and I have not needed to for NaNo yet anyway.
    I gave up on my NaNo story. I feel bad, but I don't have any time for it now because of the holidays and school. I was originally hoping that I could make up for it over this weekend, but I'm too far behind now.
    I hate Black Friday. People literally get trampled to death because a bunch of greedy people want a good deal. If I leave my house and go to a store tomorrow at all, I will hate myself. Besides, I could probably try to get back on track with my writing, even if I have officially given up on it.
    I'm eating turkey on Thanksgiving, of course, and I'm eating cranberry sauce (which is unexpectedly delicious), yams, oyster stuffing, and beans. I know there's more, but I can't remember the rest. lol

  3. I shelved my NaNo at 42k after a manic word fit Tuesday night. Spent most of Wednesday cleaning a path down the middle of the house and burning things in the oven. Wednesday night I catered to a turkey timer - basting accordingly. Thursday was a blur of family wielding forks and being thankful there was food on the table - as opposed to another bologna sandwich. Then, I got up at 3 a.m. this morning and braved the elements, and 82% of the female population of this state, to make an 82 mile drive and score a LaLaloopsy doll. Go me! I’ve tentatively scheduled my nervous breakdown for November 30, at or around midnight… it shall involve vodka.

  4. Research definitely eats into writing time where NaNo is concerned. I learned to do my research ahead of time, but I still find myself looking things up in the beginning. Outlining helps in that respect. I've just finished my 6th NaNo, and actually completed this year's project. I've had 2 NaNo novels unfinished at the end, one of which I'm working to finish now. I will say after the first year, I had a much better idea of what I needed to do to get to the end.
    Try it again next year. I think the most valuable aspect of NaNo is that is forces you to write every day, so you create that habit.


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