My NaNo Diary – When to Stop


Dear NaNo Diary,

I’m at 7160 words.  It’s a slow haul but I’m getting there.  I actually wrote a bit more than I was intending to but it was difficult finding a place to stop.  You see, I was in the middle of an important dialogue scene and didn’t feel it was fair to the character to stop them mid-flow.

Which made me think, when is the best time to stop writing?  Unfortunately I can’t afford to work on my NaNo novel all day so I set myself a target.  But I hadn’t predicted that I would be in the middle of a scene when I hit it.  So what do you do?

Well I finished my paragraph, which was the natural end for that particular part, but not the scene.  When I was looking up tips for writing, as I often do, I found a NaNo participant who said they always start the next page before finishing up.  It means when they start writing the next day, they don’t have to stare at a blank page until inspiration comes.  They can just get on with writing.

So I didn’t finish my scene, partly because I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to play out but also because when I start writing tomorrow morning, I’ve got something to start with.  Of course I don’t recommend stopping smack bang in the middle of an action scene, especially when the words are flowing quite happily.  You should always write as much as you can if you feel like it.  Motivation can be elusive at times so we should make the most of it when it comes along.  But I find this method of starting a new scene or stopping before you’ve finished one very effective for me.

Everyone’s different though.  I’d love to hear how other people work.