As of last night, I'm hovering close to 600 words short of the expected word count after six days of this year's NaNoWriMo. Considering I was behind by 3000 when I finally sat down and got cracking, it's not as bad as it could have been and it's also not as good as it should be.
What's slowing me down? It's not lack of effort, I'll tell you that. It's chapters. I've finished two chapters of the novel now, including the end of the second chapter last night, and I shut down as soon as the word processor added a page break. What's up with that? My mind was willing and able to think about any other project or topic, yet shuts down when it came to this novel. It's an identical reaction when I'm reading a book - I stop at the end of a chapter and set the book down. Could that have spilled into my writing?
It goes without saying that novel writing is remarkably different than game design (for me, at least). In game design, I bounce around back and forth until there's enough to assemble a chapter and then's it's a couple of hours of cutting and pasting. Not with a novel. That sucker's got to be written in paginating order (which also happens to be chronological order). To put it another way, novels were intended for use on typewriters and games written on computers.
Mind you, there have only been two chapters to date, so it's not like I have a chronic problem. And each chapter is larger than I normally write, so working on this material from a word count point of view has been incredibly helpful. Any previous efforts at fiction saw them consistently broken up into small chapters or text breaks as I jumped from scene to scene as if I was cutting a movie. Or perhaps it's because of the world I'm working in, a strange and far off-course from standard fantasy (IMO) that words are spent explaining details the citizens of this world would normally glaze over. It's like finding yourself trying to explain how fire works to a child and junior ain't swallowing "Just because."
Either I find a way to overcome this chapter hurdle or make a point of having every chapter end in an increment of 1667 words. Oh, and before the middle of this month or else I risk being further behind than I am right now. If things keep up (or stay down, as it were) at this rate, I'll be 3,000 words off from the final goal at month's end.