How I’m Writing a 30-Day Novel – NaNo Week 3

Camp NaNo Participant
Welcome back to week three of my Camp NaNoWriMo adventure in July. Links to the previous weekly updates are

This month’s series is the second part of the 30-day novel series. In July, I shared insights into how the 3o-day novel came to life. You can catch up on the first part of the series beginning with How I’m Writing a 30-Day Novel – Getting Started. Other posts in the series include preparing to write, good guys and bad guys, and journaling.

Now for this week’s update.

The Candidate  reached the halfway point this week. I added chapters and scenes throughout the manuscript and developed a number of plot twists and story lines. One thing is becoming increasingly clear. 75,000 words is simply not going to be enough to complete the manuscript.

Here’s a summary of the areas worked on and the accomplishments in each area.

Story Lines

New story lines took shape this week. At present, I have major story lines for the lead character, her fiance, her employer, a fellow employee, an acquaintance she’s known for some time, and a new acquaintance. Every story line is developing organically, springing from previously written scenes. Every story line is also connected in some way to at least one other story line. For the moment, all of the story lines appear to be contained within this novel, but I know there’s something that connects the stories in the series.

How do I know there’s something else out there?

I know it in the same way scientists once suspected Pluto existed: the behavior of known planets suggested some outside influence.

What I know of the characters and their behaviors tells me there’s something else out there. Something I haven’t yet identified and that will tie everything together when I do find it.


Characters are taking shape, too. While I don’t yet have a deep understanding of many of them, I have learned enough to begin to see what motivates them and why they react to certain things as they do.

I know who is the chief villain in this story.

I know who are underlings or cohorts or associates.

I know who will turn out to be a big surprise and, sadly, who will meet an untimely death.

As with story lines, there is still a lot I don’t know, but for the time being, those unknown things aren’t hampering writing. Very much.

Tip of the Week

I discovered this week that it’s okay to develop a story line separate from the main story. There were a few days when each day presented a new story line. I spent the day following that thread as far as it went. If I saw how that thread intersected with other threads, I made a note, but I kept following the thread of the day.

As I finished the week, I had several threads in the manuscript, but they were not woven together. That will come later.

If you’re story wants to take shape the same way, thread by thread, don’t sweat it. Follow each thread to its conclusion. When that happens, you’re in a creative mode and stopping to figure out how this new thread might impact other threads will dampen your creativity. Don’t do it!

Instead, write, write, write. There will be plenty of time later to see how all the threads fit together.


If I can assure you of one thing from this week’s work, it’s this.

You don’t have to know everything about a story or the characters to be able to write the story. Or to at least make a good beginning. The Candidate  has grown very well during the third week of July Camp NaNo and there are still a lot of characters who do not have names! I’m not only surprised by that fact, but by the fact that writing about people identified as Politician, Cohort, Campaign Manager, and Pastor has become second nature.

So don’t let “little details” like that keep you from starting work on your novel.

By the way, I finished the week with 40,977 words; 55% of goal.

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