NaNoWriMo: Day 4 + Premise


So it’s day four of NaNoWriMo and how many words have I gotten down?


I should have 6,668 by the end of the day today.

Ha! I don’t even have a one day minimum (1,667).

I have plenty of excuses. I’m writing a lot for work now, and on those writing days, I find it very hard to write for myself too. After more than four hours of writing, I’m pretty much burned out.

Don’t get me wrong: I love getting paid to write, and writing about really fun and interesting stuff. (A few examples: zombies, coffee, pirates, and saints.) But writing is writing, and once my writing energy is spent, there’s not much else I can do.

Another excuse: after spending these past few months planning my novel, I’m afraid that what I’m writing down sucks. When I didn’t have a plan, I could just keep going. I was planning as I went along. But while the planning should make the writing easier, at the same time I feel extra pressure: now it HAS to be good because I did all these months of pre-work! I have to keep reminding myself that this is just a draft and it doesn’t have to be perfect.

I also don’t have to necessarily meet the 50,000 word goal by the end of this month. The point is to get a draft done, and if it takes two or three months, that’s okay. As long as I keep doing a little every week. In fact, I may switch from a word count goal to a scene count goal. So in terms of scenes, I have one done, which is still pathetic, but number of scenes seems a little more doable than number of words.


I thought it would be fun to share the premise of my novel. John Truby defines a premise as “your entire story condensed to a single line.” For example, the premise for The Godfather is “The youngest son of a Mafia family take revenge on the men who shot his father and becomes the new Godfather.” For Moonstruck it’s “While her fiance visits his mother in Italy, a woman falls in love with the man’s brother.” And Star Wars: “When a princess falls into mortal danger, a young man uses his skills as a fighter to save her and defeat the evil forces of a galactic empire.”

Basically the premise shows the hero, an inciting event, some action, and a change. For my book it’s (so far):

A timid Chinese American woman learns to stand up to her domineering mother when she starts a dumpling business using the secret recipes she’s inherited from her grandmother.

And the first line of my book?

Serendipity’s mother was pressuring her again about the wedding.

Stay tuned for more next week (hopefully)!


  1. You’ve written more than me this month, that’s for sure! I have been mulling over a few premises for a novel, but that’s about as far as I’ve got, and even that’s exhausting.

    Anyway, good luck! All it takes is one inspired sit-down and you’ll be well on your way to 50,000!

  2. […] of a Story, by John Truby. I’ve written about this book a lot already (here, here, here, and here), and in case you couldn’t tell, I’m really into it. It’s completely […]