NaNoWriMo 2016. Hitting the 50k Target

by NanciArvizu

November is National Novel Writing Month. This year I hit the 50,000-word target early. But I'm not sure what I've written will turn into a novel.

This is my third year participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. Twenty-one days into the challenge I reached the goal. But after looking at what I've written, I'm not sure they'll work together to create a full-length novel. I guess I'll just keep writing, adding to the word count and weaving the scenes together. Isn't that what a 'real' writer would do?

I Had An Outline

Really, I had a plan. 

One I felt would get me through the hard days, three weeks into the month when a blank screen could throw a cold bucket of water on my determination. 

My outline was solid. I knew my characters and their flaws. I had my climax. I even (kind of) knew my ending.

But as I began to work the plan and fill in the blanks of the outline, I would let my imagination go. It took me in directions I didn't know existed. And it took me way, way, wayyyy off course. 

Now my first draft has me thinking, this might not make a novel.


Short Attention Spans

I like short stories.

I like a story that starts with a bang and winds up before the smoke clears too much. 

And I like it to happen fast. 

Yes, my attention span has shortened. It probably has to do with working as a website content creator, or internet copywriter for years. Everything has to be short, no longer than a few hundred words, and very, very clear. Preferably with bullet points.


  • Because readers scan more than they read.
  • Bullet points attract the eye and 
  • The content in bullet points tends to be remembered more than the rest of the content.
  • People tend to stop reading if they have to scroll or click.

Short Stories

Path To Love: Soul Mate Romance

All heartbroken Jenny Coupland wants is to be happy again. When she meets blue-eyed Peter Johanson she discovers life has a purpose for every bump in the road. This sweet romanc...

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Love's Second Act: Soul Mate Romance

After losing partners to divorce and death, Karen and Malcolm learn life has more to offer in Love's Second Act

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Follow Me Home: Soul Mate Romance

Sparks ignite when love is given a chance later in life.

View on Amazon

Short Stories vs. Novels

I like writing short stories too. I've written a few. 

They're nothing special little romance stories, written more for the experience of completing a story and publishing a book than the desire to be on a best sellers list. And a publishing coach told me how important it is to 'claim your name' on sales sites, like Amazon.

What I really like about writing a short story is how I'm able to focus on one or two scenes of the story and turn that into a few chapters without slowing down a bigger picture from unfolding. 

A novel requires weaving together many scenes, all with the purpose of moving the story forward. A technique I have yet to master.


The Witch's King Series on Amazon

The Witch's King: Part One: Separation

An epic love story of soul mates torn apart for the greater good of their people. Told in bite sized chronicles, this story follows along stories of ancient times, offering a tw...

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The Witch's King: Part Two: Sorcery

And epic fantasy romance told in short chronicals. Learn the tale of the Witch and her King whose love must endure endless sacrafice in order for the world to survive.

View on Amazon

Series and Serials

Many authors write this way, turning out their forthcoming novel as a series or a serial before putting the story together as a novel. 

Publishing parts to the story as stand alone books gives the author a chance to test the waters and an audience the opportunity to try something new without having to invest the time or money into a larger piece of work. A few paragraphs or chapters in and a reader will know if they like the author's style of writing or not.

Putting parts of the story out as separate books is a way authors build excitement around a series. Having a series of books lets the author or publisher give away parts of the story for free, enticing the reader to purchase the other books in the series. This preserves the integrity of the authors work and builds a loyal fan base for future releases.

I'm publishing parts The Witch's King as a series. Parts 1 and 2 are available. Parts 3 and 4 will be released by early Spring 2017. The whole story will span 7 parts and will eventually become a full-length novel. 


But it was for NaNo

My goal for this project was to turn out a novel.

But, like I said, the pieces I've written feel more like a bunch of short stories. After reading through many of them, I'm ready to outline them into their own books.

I'm feeling a little guilty!

Maybe I'm jumping the gun here. There's still seven days in the month. I plan to spend the days still plugging away, building the habit of writing on a daily basis.

Perhaps I'll be able to figure out the pieces I need to weave these stories together into the novel I first imagined. There's still time.

There's More NaNo Coming

To give participants a good break away from their work, the next step of the NaNo process doesn't begin until January.

After a month off from pounding the keys at a frantic pace, authors come back in January to pledge they'll be working on rewriting and editing for two months.

After that comes Camp NaNo where participants work on their novels even more.

I plan to do it all with the project. Will it be better if the words are collected into one piece or will it matter at that point?

The goal is to publish *something* - right? 

In the end, will it matter if it's novel length?

Shorts or A Novel

What do you think I should do? Break it into short stories or keep going for a novel?

Other Articles by Nanci Arvizu

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Updated: 11/23/2016, NanciArvizu
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DerdriuMarriner on 07/17/2017

NanciArvizu, Are you publishing one short a month this year?

NanciArvizu on 11/27/2016

Thanks Mira! Yes, I think eventually both will happen. For now I'm going to focus on the short stories - with the goal of publishing one a month for 2017!

Mira on 11/24/2016

I say write both the shorts and the novels! :D

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