Writing update #10 | finishing my WIP draft + NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag

Well, I have exciting news, everyone.

I finished the first draft of the WIP I’ve been writing since last spring!

Screen Shot 2019-10-18 at 8.43.34 PM.png

Image result for dance gif

I now have 84k words of a messy, inconsistent, cringeworthy first draft that needs piles and piles of work before it’s even remotely ready to show to another human being…but it’s the first step, and that’s something to be proud of. Finishing this WIP ended up being a lot harder than I expected – I was stuck on the same two chapters for almost two months, and stumbling to the finish line a few days ago felt like ending a months-long marathon. Right now, I feel more relieved than anything else.

I don’t want to spend too much time talking about this WIP because we have other things to get to. My plan for now is to set it aside for a month or so and let it settle before I return for revisions. (And oh boy, those revisions are gonna be intense.)

In the meantime, I have NaNoWriMo to think about! More on that in a bit…

If you’re curious about this WIP I just finished, I’ve talked about it a lot in past writing updates (#6, #7, #8, #9) so you can go back and look at me struggling through the months! I also made this cool aesthetic for #FinishUrBookFall on Twitter, which, wow, I guess I’ve finished now.


Writing music

I’ve been spending a lot of time finding music to add to my character playlists oops…and I’m really liking what I’ve found!

  • Miracle Mile by Cold War Kids – for my main character Nat (this song is so perfect for her that the first time I heard it I had to sit down for a few minutes)
    • I’d be alright, if I could just see you / (Come up for air, come up for air) / A miracle mile, where does it lead to? /  (Come up for air, come up for air)
  • still feel. by half alive – for Joss (I can totally imagine her just rocking out to this song in her car)
    • Floating in outer space, have I misplaced a part of my soul? / Lost in the in-between, or so it seems, I’m out of control
  • Shuffle by Bombay Bicycle Club – for Elliot (this song SCREAMS Elliot to me and I can’t even place my finger on exactly why. It just fits him perfectly!)
    • Weight is coming off, soaring high / Pleading you to stay, come alive
  • Let’s Go by Matt and Kim – for Austin (this song makes me want to dance, and writing Austin always cheers me up, so it all fits)
    • Shouting out of my windows / Rolled down / Cause I don’t care anymore
  • Waste of Time by Alex the Astronaut – for Devya (once again, I can’t really explain this, but the song has Devya vibes!)
    • Making everybody proud / Looking up and running round / And it wears me out


The NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag

If it wasn’t already obvious, yes, I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year, which is a month-long writing challenge during the month of November in which writers attempt to write 50,000 of a novel in 30 days. This will be my sixth time participating, and hopefully my fifth time winning.

The amazing Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner tagged me in this tag that she created: the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag! Thank you, Sophie!! ❤️ I figured this was the perfect excuse for me to introduce you to the project that I’ll be working on.

Without further ado, let’s get into Sophie’s questions!

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

I don’t have a nice, neat blurb all written out (for some reason, I always have trouble doing that before starting a project), but basically: I’m writing a modern-day retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen.

If you don’t know the story of Persuasion, here’s a quick summary of the original: Anne Elliot had a brief but serious romance with Frederick Wentworth when she was nineteen, but her family convinced her to break it off because he was poor. Now, years later, Anne’s family has lost most of their money, while Wentworth has become a distinguished naval captain, and Anne regrets being persuaded to let him go.

In my version, which takes place in the Pacific Northwest, Anne is a recent college graduate with no direction in life, and Freddie Wentworth was her high school sweetheart and now the captain of a famous local soccer team. Drama ensues when their lives collide again.

What’s the genre?

New Adult contemporary romance!

Describe your MC in three words.

Anne Elliot: unappreciated, reserved, regretful.

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

There isn’t really a villain in this story in the traditional sense. Mostly it’s just people being people and doing dumb things.

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

Going for the big 50k! I don’t think I could manage much more than that. 😅

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

First draft!

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

I’ll be writing the first word of this project on November 1st.

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

Lately, mornings have been my most productive writing time. But I’m not going to be picky about when I can fit it in!

Where are you going to write?

My desk is my usual writing spot. I cleaned it off over the weekend and it was incredibly satisfying.


Computer or paper?

Computer, for sure. I might use paper for planning, but I need to be able to count those words!

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

Finding a set time to write and blocking it out so nothing interferes is really important for me. Right now, my life isn’t terribly busy, so I’m more worried about finding motivation than time.

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

I’d really love to! I’ve never attended an actual write-in, but the area where I live is really active and it could be a great way for me to get motivated and meet other NaNo-ers in real life, so I think I might do it this year.

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

I usually function best by writing from the beginning, but if I get stuck, I have no qualms about skipping around.

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Plantser! The nice thing about this project is that it’s a retelling, so I already have the basic plot structure. I’ll be doing a little more planning in terms of what changes I’m going to make and general research into academic writing on the original text (I bought an annotated edition of Persuasion yesterday exactly for this purpose because I’m a nerd), but for the most part, I like to keep my options open.

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

Hmmm…I don’t think I have one! I don’t usually eat while writing, since I get way too distracted by the food haha. So I don’t think I have a go-to NaNo snack.

Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

Tea for the mornings (English Breakfast or Earl Grey) and coffee for the afternoons. I can’t function without caffeine.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

In the past, I’ve rewarded myself with chocolate bars for hitting certain word count milestones, and that’s worked very effectively! You know those joke signs that are like “will work for chocolate”? Those are referring to me.

And I’m not sure what I’ll do to reward myself for finishing. Maybe buy myself a book? I haven’t planned that far ahead yet!

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

Make 👏 plans 👏 and 👏 stick 👏 to 👏 them! 👏 Planning out your life is essential during NaNoWriMo (at least, for my brain, and probably most people’s brains) to prevent you from ending up in chaos at the end of every day with zero words written. Blocking out writing time, eliminating distractions, and sticking to a schedule is the best way to actually getting that word count in. I’m sure this is one of the most common pieces of NaNo advice…but that’s because it’s so important.

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

I’m excited and nervous at the same time! This is a story that I’ve been thinking about for a long time and I can’t wait to write, but I also don’t know how I could possibly do it justice, since Jane Austen’s original story is already perfection. But I’m certainly going to give it my best shot!

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!


I spent way too long making this.


I don’t know who else is planning on doing NaNo, but consider yourself tagged if you are and want to have an excuse to talk about your upcoming project! Also, please feel free to add me as a writing buddy on the NaNo website.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? How are your writing projects coming along? 

x Margaret 

goodreads | twitter | indiebound

31 thoughts on “Writing update #10 | finishing my WIP draft + NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag

  1. Congratulations on reaching completion! You should get yourself a box of Godiva chocolates or something. 😀 And for the record, great idea for your NaNo story! Persuasion seems like it’s Jane Austen’s illegitimate stepchild or something. Pride and Prejudice and even Emma seem to get more revisionist love than Persuasion does.

    I’m wishing you all sorts of good writing luck! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! Godiva chocolates do sound like a spectacular way to celebrate 😀

      And yes, Persuasion always feels so under-appreciated in comparison to Austen’s other works! I love P&P and Emma, but I felt like I needed to give Persuasion its due love. Thank you so much! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Margaret!
    Yay! So glad that you did this tag! I enjoyed reading your answers! Congrats on finishing your WIP! It takes a lot of effort and determination to finish a novel and you did it. All the best with the editing process. Let me know if you are ever looking for beta-readers 🙂
    I liked the blurb for your new WIP. It’s awesome that you’ll be doing a retelling! Really loved your aesthetics!
    Wishing you all the best for the rest of Preptober and Nanowrimo! I’m going to add you as a writing buddy now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Sophie, and thanks again for creating this tag and tagging me! ❤ The editing process of my WIP is probably going to be quite arduous, but I will keep you in mind for a beta-reader 😊 And I'm glad my NaNo project sounds interesting! Best of luck to you as well getting ready for and starting NaNo 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re the first person I’ve ever read that’s actually finished their book in a book update! (I mean, I know it’s only a 1st draft but WELL DONE! 🎉)

    Also, the Jane Austen thing sounds great! I’m currently reading Northanger Abbey & I’m enjoying it so much more than I thought I would?! I’m not really a classics kind of person but there’s just something about Jane Austen’s writing style!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! 😀 Haha I know, I feel like I’ve talked about this WIP so much and it’s strange to finally say that I’m done (for now).

      Ooh, I’m glad you’re enjoying Northanger Abbey! Austen is one of the only classic authors I genuinely enjoy, and I’m so excited to retell one of her stories 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this so much!!! I’m reading Persuasion soon, and I absolutely can’t wait. Your project sounds so fun, and I wish you all the success in it! I’m currently in the process of making some kind of pro/con list to help me decide which project to tackle for NaNo, but I’m definitely doing this tag once I can figure it out, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congrats on finishing your first draft!! That’s one of the hardest parts of writing, getting those initial words on the page. And your NaNo project sounds awesome, my interest is peaked! I love me a good contemporary ❤ It's amazing too that this is the six time you are participating in NaNo! This is my third time participating and I'm hoping that this is the time I get to that word count goal. Sending good writing vibes your way, and I'll add you as a buddy 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. YAY!! You’ve finished your first draft, big congratulations!! I absolutely love hearing people say this as I dream of it one day and it is such a big achievement!! You should be proud of yourself!! *dance party* 💕
    I love the aesthetic!! *heart eyes*
    And wow going straight out to NaNoWriMo, that’s impressive but I love it!!
    I love the genre as I think they should be more romance with this age group of characters and the idea of a Persuasion retelling sounds so cool!! And I love that you brought an annotated copy of it!!
    Clearing your desk is always such a satisfying thing to do and I love that you have a writing desk, I usually just do it on the sofa or my bed!!
    Using chocolate as a reward is exactly what I do and it works so well chocolate is the best!!
    I love your aesthetic, it gives off a certain vibe and I am here for it!!
    Best of luck with your writing, you can do it!! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! 😀 There really is no feeling like finishing a book, and I hope you get to experience it yourself soon!
      And yep, haha heading straight into NaNo 😅 I’m really excited to write a romance for this age category and to be able to dive deep into Persuasion! And chocolate is such a good motivator. Thank you, Sophie, and I wish you luck with your writing as well! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I can imagine and thank you *fingers crossed*!!
        Haha that’s great, straight back in!! Aw.. I’m glad you are excited and I hope you have a good time exploring it all. Chocolate really is the best, haha!!
        Thank you ❤


  7. Congrats on finishing your first draft, that’s so exciting!!! I also wish you all the best luck for your NaNo project, it sounds cool and I love the aesthetic! 🥰 I won’t be doing NaNo this year, but I’m still working on completing my #FinishUrBookFall goals 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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