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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

125: NaNoWriMo 2023 Update

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Howdy! After last week's post, my writing went off the rails and I took some time to revisit how I want the story to progress. It occured to me that my cast was larger than it needed to be, to the extent that the inclusion of some characters negated the better ending I'd thought of. I also decided to rework the setting, keeping the location but moving to an earlier decade. I decided to start the story earlier as well, to better time the incident that gets this plot rolling. With so many necessary changes, I scrapped that draft altogether, starting over.

I spent November 14th outlining the updated plot in greater detail and breaking that into a scene list. To save time, and boost the word count, I've been writing the new draft directly on the scene list. The goal remains 50,000 word written in a single new manuscript draft began during the month of November and having hit that word count by the conclusion of the month. Because I started over, rather than aiming for ~1700 words per day, minimum, the goal is now ~3,334. Last night I left off at 21,233, so slightly over the 16,670 words I needed written in order to meet the final count on schedule. So far I was able to pull part of one scene from the first partial draft into the second, and alter it to fit the new story. Because I'm rushing, the writing is messier than it could be, but so long as I meet the word count, I'll call it a success. I never demand of myself concluding the plot within NaNoWriMo, and while I have done so in the past, this story won't meet its end this month. I'll keep working on it into December and then put it aside once complete, so I can come back to it with a fresh perspective at a later date.

The vibes have been off all NaNo. Partially, this is because we're all rightfully distracted by world affairs, mainly the Isreali genocide of Palestinians that the United States government is actively contributing to (Here's how you can help!). But also, around November 14th, many of us writers active on social media learned of a scandal at the NaNoWriMo org website. I'm not linking that website here. I've been on that site for years. It's where I log and share my NaNo word count progress with peers. I liked collecting the virtual badges as I progressed and the cute certfification after meeting the word count. I was unaware of the presence of forums on the site, which I've admittedly barely explored.

Well, it turns out there are forums for different age brackets and genres, and like subreddits, these forums have moderators. There was a single mod for the young writers forum, and that mod was caught encouraging young writers (minors) to visit an online fetish community. Witnesses reported the uncouth and illegal behavior both to authority figures on the site and to the FBI. The NaNo website authorities did not initially remove the mod. When their inaction and complicity was made public, they froze all forums and took to removing evidence, both of the crimes, and of users complaining of them. They also removed users who made valid complaints about the site. Here is a Twitter thread that better explains the situation.

Anyway, as a result of all this, I deleted my NaNo account. I'm still taking part in what I consider Writing Community Month, but many writers have declared the event cancelled. Hopefully next year's NaNo goes better. I do hope we can all find a new online community space for sharing our word counts, what with folks leaving Twitter for alternative microblogs and the official NaNo site bleeding users.

Thanks for stopping by. I drop a new blog post every Monday. Toodles!

Update: I hit 50K words in the new draft on November 28th, at which point I put it away. I intend to drastically alter the setting in the next draft.

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