Friday, April 11, 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 - Day Eleven

More about word counts today!

There is another flaw with word counts that I think people often get caught up in. Perhaps you don’t need to add meaningless words to your narrative; you are writing along, quite happy, and then boom! You are at 1667 words for the day! Rejoice, party, shut that laptop goodbye, and that is the end of it. No more writing for today.

The issue with the word “goal” is that it implies that you do not need to go above and beyond. If your goal is to run a marathon, why run an extra mile? You have hit your goal. Similarly, there is no difference between 1668 words in a day and 2667 words, because both are “above goal”. Goal-oriented thinking is useful, but the minute we start thinking of goal as synonymous to maximum, we are hurting our writing.

A word count goal, then, should be thought of as more of a quota. You can do more, and you should if you are really in the zone and writing well. If you meet your quota, then good for you! You have passed! But if you go above, then that is still good. It is all about meeting a quota, and if it averages out, then well done!

Furthermore, with the idea of a quota, you start the next day from scratch. I think goal has that component in theory, but in practice it appears not to. If you have a goal write 100 extra words on Monday, then you only have to write 1567 words on Tuesday. DO NOT DO THAT. Your quota remains constant; you have to meet your 1667 words a day, regardless of past performance. Try and bring that attitude into your writing, and see how much more you can write!

TODAY’S PLOT DEVICE: Your main character has a nightmare (can be a repeat of the dream they had before, as long as there are some differences). Fears are always full of interesting things to think about! Why is your characters afraid? What is the story behind their fear?

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