The first week of NaNo (short for: National Novel Writing Month) is over and I'm at approximately 10,500 words. This is a shade under the minimum cumulative word requirement (I'm supposed to be at around 13,333 by tonight), but numerically I'm still really satisfied because I managed to write at least once a day and do that in between insane schoolwork, swimming, reading, and keeping up a semblance of a normal-person social life. I may have to constantly fight to stay within reach of the daily word count, but I think the best part is that I'm able to write once a day, to fit writing into my daily routine without too much trouble.
On the bad side... I'm not really sure where my story is going to go. *sigh* I wrote a really elaborate ten-page plot synopsis before November, so I know the general path my story arc is going to take, but then unexpected things keep on cropping up. For instance, I'm not really satisfied with how the main character's family is currently turning out: a bunch of unfeeling, unsympathetic, and unrealistic characters. Ugh. I definitely need to get more experience writing parents and siblings. Also, I'm 10,000 words in, but the other main character has not even shown up yet. A definite no-no in middle-grade fiction. Also, my MC is obsessed with soccer, which I know very little of. Right now I'm just winging it with my limited soccer vocabulary, but that's something I'm going to research more come December and January. It also brings up the question of whether to do research before, during, or after writing the story. I think that having a small but sturdy base of knowledge to draw from (in terms of characters' interests, the setting, the things I enjoy about the particular genre I'm writing in) is not a bad thing.
I'm trying not to have writer's doubts plague me and cause me to give up on writing this uncertain story, but I know that I'll have my work cut out for me when it comes to revising. Ah, well! I have yet to revise the story I completed mid-October, before NaNo started, so I'm not sure how my new revising strategy will work. The first story that I completed, four years ago, consisted of me often rereading what I had written and fixing as I reread. Now, I don't allow myself to do that. The first draft is seriously the first draft, in that I just tell myself to get my words out in whatever mangled, jumbled, incomprehensible, or terribly cliched way they come out, and I will fix it once the first draft is finished. I suspect that I've done a lot of editing in my past and not revising (editing is getting closer to what you've written in order to nitpick, while revising is taking a step back and trashing complete scenes or characters while writing in completely fresh ones), so I'm looking forward to getting a chance to try out revising.
I suppose I should also talk about the things I'm happy about in my writing so far. I'm pretty fond of my MC and her love of sports and pretty things, simultaneously. I enjoy writing about the boys in the park who shun her when she wants to join their pickup soccer games, because I can sense the boys' internal struggle over whether to let her in because she's really good, thereby risking ridicule and alienation from their friends, or to continue to not accept her because she's different from them, because that is what their society has taught them to think even though, as 12-year-olds, athletic talent trumps old-fashioned forms of prejudice.
And that's my NaNo summary for the week! How are you guys doing in terms of staying with the daily word count? Are you satisfied with how your story is going? Did you plot beforehand, or are you kind of winging it, letting the characters take you where they want to? Have you been revising as you go along, or do you, like me, not let yourself look back at what you've written to avoid being sucked into premature revising/editing? Don't forget to find me on the NaNoWriMo page (my username is stephxsu) if you haven't already! :)