How I’m Writing a 30-Day Novel – NaNo Week 4

Camp NaNo Participant
Here we are, talking about the fourth week of July Camp NaNo already. Where has the time gone?

As you know if you’ve been following this series, I’ve been documenting my effort to write a first draft in 30 days. The novel is The Candidate, a political thriller with a touch of Bible prophecy. It is the first book in a series.

If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series, here are the links.

These are all Phase 2 of the series. The actual writing of the novel. In July, the series began with four posts on some of the ways I prepared to write my first intuitive novel in several years. Here are those links.

Now, for these week’s installment.

Making Up Lost Ground

Week 4 of Camp NaNoWriMo was the first week in which I didn’t have major outside plans or unplanned emergencies, so it was an excellent writing week. So good, in fact, that I reached the weekly goal of 18,700 words on Thursday. That was definitely a boost to morale. I finished the week with over 25,000 words. The best week of the month.

But I also caught up on monthly word count by the close of the day Wednesday. The last time I was caught up was Day 3. I wrote 6,195 words on Wednesday of this week, the high count for the month. That accomplishment took some of the pressure off the rest of the month.

Writing The Fourth Quarter

I usually think of novels as quarters, whether I actually divide the manuscript up that way or not. With The Candidate, I had everything together in one long (and getting longer!) manuscript. Up until this week, I had only a vague notion of how the story was going to end. No one idea seemed best.

Early this week, I decided to physically divide the manuscript and I decided to start with the end. I opened a new document and began writing chapters intuitively, beginning with what I thought might be the first scene in the fourth quarter.

Throughout the week, I continued revising and adding to the fourth quarter.

All of the new chapters were new writing, but I pulled ideas from old scenes that had either not been attached to specific stories or had only been loosely attached. Those old scenes provided the impetus for the first day of work, but I soon found the fourth quarter going in another direction. Dutifully, I followed along. By the time I finished, those old scenes had been discarded or so deeply rewritten, they were unrecognizable.

When I realized the end of the story wanted my attention, I set an intermediate goal of finishing it by the end of the day Saturday. That seemed like a tall order, but by Friday night, the fourth quarter was complete. Every chapter was either written or summarized. On Saturday, I plugged in the chapters written earlier in the month.


From Monday through Friday, I averaged over 4,000 words a day. One day, I wrote 6,169 words. All of the ground lost during the first two weeks of July was regained and I reached 60,000 words on the manuscript on Thursday. That’s a major milestone for me. Bigger than 50,000 or 75,000.

The week ended with a total story word count of 23,000 and word count for the month of 68,454. That leaves a little over 7,000 words to write the final four days of July.

75,000 words is still my goal. But even if I make it early, I plan to keep pushing until the end of the month. I estimate it will take at least 100,000 words to finish The Candidate. I hope to have the first draft finished by August 15. If I can maintain current momentum in August, fifteen days should be just about enough.

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