The Plan (NaNoWriMo Edition)

Today’s post would normally be about my goals for the month, but as it’s November, my goal is to participate in and maybe even win NaNoWriMo, as evidenced by my super cool badge here:

So, today I thought I might talk about how I plan to do that. If it can be considered a plan. It doesn’t feel much like a plan, but it is at least a little more than the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I was working with before, so maybe?

Anyway, this month’s theme is Pot Luck.

Meaning I didn’t have an idea for a singular story that could net me 50,000 words, so I decided to call upon my current slate of unfinished/unstarted WIPs in hopes that between all of them I can cobble together those elusive 50,000 words.

This puts me firmly in the NaNo Rebel category, but truth be told, I am a rebel in November more often than I’m not. (And somewhere, the support group of authority figures who had the displeasure of trying to tell me what to do just collectively scoffed and said, “Yeah. It’s not just November, you pain in the ass.”)

So here now, for your reading pleasure, are the WIPs on which I hope to be working this month:

Terrible Romance Sequel

As you may have guessed from the very clever name, this is supposed to be the next installment of the Terrible Romance Series. I started it last November during NaNoWriMo and didn’t finish it and didn’t look at it again until recently when I took it out of the drawer to take stock of its state, for lack of a better word.

Yeah…it turns out there really isn’t a plot. Or a beginning or an end. Or a romance between my main characters, but why is that important in a romance novel?

One of my goals for 2021 was to finish the first draft of this story, so I would like to see if I can maybe do that this month. It will require me to come up with an actual plot, though, (and probably some romance) so we’ll have to see how it goes.

—Adventures In Babysitting

This is the working title for a companion novella idea I had for my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles. It doesn’t have very much in the way of a plot yet (why do none of my stories have plots?!?), so again, we’ll have to see how it goes.


This is the title for the fourth book in The Coileáin Chronicles. You know, the one I really didn’t want to write? Yeah, well, it has a name now, and I’m super thrilled about it. And no, it doesn’t have a plot, but apparently, I just don’t work that way anymore.

At this point, I’m viewing this more as a thought exercise. I’m not sure what will happen, so I’m going to explore what can happen and see where that takes me. Who knows—maybe it’ll lead to a better ending for Full Circle.

—The Third One

This is the third intended installment of the Terrible Romance Series. Because OF COURSE there are three of them. It’s on the list mostly because I have some ideas for it, and it’s possible that working on the Terrible Romance Sequel could lead to additional ideas, and every idea I get down is more words toward that 50k. So it’s on the list.

How Many Angels

This is my attempt at literary fiction. It’s supposed to be a hybrid of Steel Magnolias and William Faulker’s As I Lay Dying but set in Maine. I started writing it back in high school (so, you know, back in the dark ages) and have been ignoring it since college. I’m curious if I can get past all of the extremely cringe-worthy crap I wrote back then (because OMG, it’s terrible) to see if there’s a worthwhile story buried in there somewhere. Because right now, I think the only thing maybe even a little salvageable here is the concept.

I don’t know how this month-long experiment will go. I admit I don’t have high hopes for a win. I just feel too unfocused for that. I don’t mind if I don’t get a win, though. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve lost, and it won’t be the last. Besides, though I admit I do enjoy winning, I don’t do this for the win. I do this thing for the challenge itself. I want to see what will happen…even if all that happens is me spending thirty days staring at a blinking cursor while ingesting an inhuman amount of sugar.

But who knows? Perhaps I shall surprise myself. The good thing about not having high hopes is that it’s a hell of a lot easier to meet and/or exceed those expectations. (And yeah, you’re probably going to look at the word count stats below and be all, “WTF are you talking about, you weirdo? It look like it’s going all right to me.” To which I have to say, “Yes, I am more than a weirdo, and I usually crush the word count in the first week. It doesn’t mean anything.”)

Perhaps one of these projects will catch fire (hopefully not literally, though…) and grab hold and inspire the hell out of me.

It could happen.

NaNoWriMo started on Monday, so I am now three days into the Pot Luck experiment. Here’s where things stand thus far:


Word count goal: 50,000

Where the WC should be: 5,001

Where the WC actually is: 7,648

WIP getting the most love: Adventures In Babysitting (7,081 words)

What will happen? Stay tuned to this channel for occasional updates. Unless I forget or go into some kind of sugar coma. If that happens, I’ll see y’all in December.

Stay safe and well, all.

22 Commentsto The Plan (NaNoWriMo Edition)

  1. That’s a lot of projects for NaNo. But if you get bored with one, you can hop to another.

  2. Jemi Fraser says:

    I like your plan!!
    I ended up writing Romantic suspense because a straight romance is too hard – I need the suspense bits to create/drive the plot.
    The first week is always the easiest for NaNo – I hope that momentum keeps firing!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      The Terrible Romance Sequel is shaping up to be a very different story than the first installment. I keep looking at it and thinking, “How will there possibly be a romance in this story?!?”

      So, at least it’s living up to its name, right?

      My NaNo word count usually takes a very sharp nosedive in that second week. It’s what happens afterward that matter. Or something like that.

  3. I’m already kind of unfocused lately and now, after reading this, I’m exhausted. 🙂

    Wishing you good NaNo vibes! If one of those stories doesn’t take hold and become something you run with, I bet you’ll still make good chunks of progress on a number of those ideas, and that’s huge.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      Sorry! Didn’t intend to exhaust anyone!

      And at this point, I’ll be fine with anything even remotely close to progress. Especially if it’s a better ending for Full Circle…

  4. Kate says:

    Sounds like an excellent way to approach NaNo when you don’t have a single project you want to work on. My bet is on you crushing that 50K!

  5. It’s nice that you’ve given yourself lots of options for getting your word count in. If you lose momentum in one, you can just switch to another!

  6. Great strategy! You have a lot of options that way, and in the end, you’ll wind up with many avenues to explore and develop. Go NaNo!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I’m really hoping one of those avenues is full of inspiration. Fingers crossed (though it does make it harder to type that way…)

  7. J E Oneil says:

    As long as it works and you’re writing, what else matters? I’m really interested to see the results of this experiment.

  8. You’ll have plenty to work on. Wasn;t Adventures in Babysitting an 80’s film though?

  9. Liz A. says:

    I like your plan. It’s a very good idea when you’re unfocused to not try to focus, but to let the brain go where it goes. It’s why I like to have many knitting projects going at the same time. Sometimes you just have to work on what you’re in the mood to do.

    Good luck.

  10. Tyrean says:

    Woot! Way to go on your word count!
    I am slightly jealous of the cleverness of your Rebel Title: Potluck. I really should have had something clever like that for the messy dreck I am producing this month. Sure I had surgery, but the mind-altering pain killers are no longer in my system and still…dreckishness happens. Oh well. I am still writing. Can I count this comment? Probably not.
    Happy writing!

  11. Samantha says:

    Neat idea. This year I’m trying to stay focused on one project, jump-starting the 5th Menopausal Superhero series so that I can meet my April deadline. But maybe I’ll try this multi-project approach next year!

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