The next paragraph is stolen from my October writing report. The rest of the post isn’t.
November = NaNo = NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month, where, contrary to the national piece, slightly insane writers worldwide decide to attempt to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words in the month of November. I just missed in 2010, with the original first draft of Arena making 50k by the end of November but still needing another 8k words to finish the story, which I stretched out a bit. And I “won” NaNo in 2014 with the first draft of Scattered on the Wind coming in at a little over 62k on November 26th, but I dictated about half of that novel and it took me a while to clean it up, so the final product first draft I officially count at almost 65k and on December 17th of that year. It’s a temptation every year, but I haven’t given in to that temptation since 2014.
Screw it. I’m doing NaNo.
But there’s a catch.
Any work on the NaNoWriMo project has to come after all other obligations for the day have been met, including planned writing obligations. So if there’s a blog post slotted, and I’m supposed to edit 2 chapters of something, and I haven’t made any progress on one of this month’s short stories yet, those all have to come first. So do family obligations and appointments, necessary academics, paid work (if any), required housework and maintenance. Just because I don’t have a formal job at the moment doesn’t mean I get to chuck everything to put a couple of thousand extra words in.
Oh, and the story I’ve decided on has a bare bones outline that I think is probably going to translated to a first draft that’s closer to 60,000 words than 50,000.
Not exactly setting myself up for success, am I?
But life, uh, finds a way. Even if I don’t finish the story during November, I’ll have made a great start on it and the words will still count.
Right now, I’m 6,281 words in. And I haven’t touched it yet today. So, three days in and the track is good so far. No idea if I’ll be able to maintain it or not.
Stay safe and be well, everyone.by
November was all about focus. NaNoWriMo type focus. A quick summary:
Scattered On the Wind
This was the NaNo project, a YA SF book, more or less, with the main character being a 15 yo girl who’s just emigrated to a new world and the colony is falling apart around her. Not physically, not yet, but something on the planet is giving everyone above the age of 18 or so a variety of neuroses, phobia, and mental issues. It’s also giving everyone below adolescence the symptoms of ADHD. The teenagers, sadly, are staying normal longer than most, but are all sharing the same dream. As of the end of NanN, complete at 62,973 words, the first 545 of which I actually counted in October totals but were written after midnight on Halloween to count for Nano. The word count will still go up a little since I have some dictation clean up still to do and tend to add a phrase here and there while I do it.
5,992 words on the last couple of commuting days of the month. Keeping the NaNo pace going.
Um, none, really. Unless you count the next section.
Year of Trek Fiction
592 words on the Scotty novelette. I got stuck in traffic during a snowstorm and finished the chapter I was dictating on The Godhead so thought I’d switch gears for a bit.
Editing on “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus” added 505 words to the story.
Plotting on two different projects totalled 2,717 words.
The big bucket for everything else caught 8,971 words.
Total for the Month
It all totals up to a killer 81,205 words for November, a monthly word count second only to July of this year (86,755), but that month had thirty-one days and this month had 7k more in fiction.
Goals for November:
The Godhead, Book 2: by my current estimates, I still have somewhere between 15 and 18,000 words to go to finish off the plot which, if I can keep the Nano pace going, should take about a week, right?
Once that’s done, I’m going to move back to a project I stalled on last year, Draugr Rising. Modern fantasy with a Norse flavour and Viking zombies. Sort of. That’s one of the things I’ve been plotting and I think I might be able to make it work now.
Some amount of short fiction, but I’m not going to put a target on it.
That’s probably lots since I’m hoping to continue on the same pace I’ve been managing for this month, looking for a similar total in fiction drafting. I also need to start finding some time for editing, and research for something else. And that’s in addition to real life.
Yes, I’m crazy.
Be well, everyone.
My hands slipped from the panel, but the impressions they’d been in remained. The cavern lights stayed on, and the panel didn’t drain back into the floor. Tears started again, real tears now, streaming from eyes finally free to weep. I’ve been angry, and I’ve been guilty, or felt that way, but I couldn’t until just that moment actually grieve for my best friend.
So I finished “Scattered on the Wind” on the way home tonight. Finished dictating it, at least, meaning that the principal story is complete at, currently, 62,322 words.
I say currently because the word count will keep increasing for a little bit, probably a week or so past the end of NaNoWriMo. This is because I have, at the moment, only cleaned up the dictation as far as chapter 15. In terms of raw words, that’s 57% of the story, and in terms of chapters, it’s exactly half.
It’s strange how much of the last three chapters, and in particular the final chapter, have been a struggle to get out. It’s almost like I didn’t want to finish the book. More likely, it’s that I didn’t really have a clear idea of what I wanted leading up to the final moments. That’s slowed me down a couple of times in this first draft and probably means I’ll have more to clean up in those sections.
Either way, the story is complete, and it is a complete story, although the final scene leaves things quite open for a sequel if choose to write one. And I may, because I have a couple ideas of things that might happen in it, but not yet. There are too many other stories I need to I had, and and a couple of them are rather pressing on my mind.
I think I may have mentioned at some point that I have around 20 or 25,000 words left on the second book of The Godquest and I’m going to start back on that tomorrow. If I can maintain the NaNoWriMo pace I’ve been on, it should take only about a week and a half. If I can maintain the pace.
I’m still plotting the first book of Peace Bringers, but I’ve also been doing some re-plotting on a story I started last year and stalled on about a third of the way through. Draugr Rising will be my next focus, right after I finish book 2 of The Godhead and it probably needs about 50,000 words yet. Then Peace Bringers.
No rest for the wicked, no rest for the weary, no rest for the writer with too many ideas.
Be well, everyone.by
Yup, doing NaNo this year and kicking ass at it.
As I type this quick update, Scattered on the Wind is sitting at 40,011 words.
For those who don’t know, the idea behind NaNoWriMo is to just sit down and write. Your objective is to write a 50,000-word novel, preferably complete, in the month of November. Doesn’t sound hard until you realize that’s 1,667 words per day. Every day. But you aren’t supposed to stress about plotting or planning or how good or bad the story is or how consistent your characters are. Just write. A lot.
I did NaNo a few years ago for the first Troll Wars book (which doesn’t read nearly as badly as I remember it), finishing just before the end of the month, breathing a huge sigh of relief, and then taking a big chunk of December to write the last few chapters and finish at 59,000 words. So I beat the word count, but didn’t actually finish the story. I still called it a win.
And then life moved on in all kinds of crazy directions, but I’m back this year.
This time, things are looking pretty good so far.
With 40,000 words in the document, I only need 10k in the next 13 days to hit the word goal, and just a bit more than 12 chapters to finish the story in the same time. And that is completely doable.
I’m currently projecting the finish line at just under 64,000 words, meaning I’ll need another 24,000 after today, which is a pace of 1846 words per day, and that will actually slow me down from where I’ve been drafting at.
If that sounds like I’m bragging, well, maybe I am a little, but the high word count is a combination of two things. First, I’ve somehow found the focus to concentrate the bulk of my effort (85% so far this month, by word count) on just one thing. Second, my first draft is mostly being dictated.
I have a 45-minute commute and I just talk into my phone, letting the recording software capture it and my computer produce the sometimes entertaining results at night. Even with long silences while I think about things sometimes, I’m averaging almost 3400 words per day on commuting days. At a far slower pace, I’m spending my breaks at work and a little bit of time on weekends tidying up the dictation. By bedtime tonight, I’ll probably be seven chapters behind with most of Chapter 18 dictated and most of Chapter 11 tidied up.
So I’m feeling good about the current project, rough as my first drafts are, and about winning NaNo this year. So good, that I’m wondering if I can keep the focus beyond this story and transfer it back to book 2 of my epic fantasy trilogy so I can get that finished off and maybe start the next major work before Christmas.
But I desperately need to find some editing time.
Be well, everyone.by
by A quick snapshot of works in progress.
Novel: The Godhead, Book 2
Short: “Hitching Home, A Ghost Story”
Year of Trek: “Scotty’s Enterprise”
Editing: “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus”
Plotting: Scattered on the Wind
Too much? Well, it’s not technically everything I have in progress at the moment, but these are the main things and I am trying to limit myself a bit.
I’ll draw your attention to Scattered on the Wind today. I have, for reasons I don’t understand, decided to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. It’s been a while, and I feel like I need the boost that will come from writing a 50,000 word story in a month.
Except that I think I’ve rough plotted Scattered to 60,000-ish words. So that means I need to do 2,000 words per day instead of 1,667. Assuming my rough plot is roughly accurate.
Oh, and I mostly don’t write on weekends these days, so that leaves only 20 days for me to write during Nano, which means I have to average 3,000 words per day.
Only one conclusion can be drawn from this data: I’m crazy.
But it’s a good crazy, and I’ll tell you why: it’s important to have a variety of goals, both realistic and unrealistic. Sometimes, you’ll actually hit one of the unrealistic ones and you’ll get to revise what realistic means. That’s what I’m hoping to do.
For a little story detail, Scattered on the Wind takes place in the nebulous semi-near future where colonies are placed on other worlds with a Gateway. One such seed colony is placed on an apparently quiet, gentle world without a lot of high end predators or things that want to kill people. But strange signs of mental illness start to manifest among some of the colonists, and at the same time they start to find hints that maybe they’re not on the first colonial expedition to the world.
The primary POV is Jules, a 15-ish year old girl, victim of the colonial program her parents enrolled in when she was a toddler, but having grown up knowing it might happen some day. I’m using bits of behaviour modeled from teenage girls I know to build her character a bit, but not too in depth.
Because this is a NaNo project, you’re not supposed to do any writing ahead of time (plotting and character sketches and that sort of thing are fine), but there’s a line that keeps sticking in my head, not that I promise it will make it into the final draft unscathed, or at all.
“Strange that so gentle a world could kill us so quietly and easily.”
Be well, everyone.by
by So, for the second year in a row, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, and it has nothing to do with starting 4 days behind having been at World Fantasy, or how busy life is, or anything like that. Sometimes there are other fish to be fried.
In the case of the current November, I have exactly two writing things on my agenda. First, my submission for Urban Green Man which, regardless of the outcome, I have pre-ordered a copy, something I almost never do for anything, because it looks awesome. And if my story is awesome enough to be included then I’ll have two until I give one to someone as a gift.
Second, I have the skeleton of an idea that might work for an upcoming Crossed Genres theme, but I’m not going to say for which month, because I really don’t know if the story is going to work out for the theme, although that’s not really up to me to decide. The Crossed Genres editors are perfectly suited to making that decision without me. My job is to get the story done and submit it in the appropriate window.
So instead of NaNoWriMo, I’m doing BuWeSiMo—BUild my WEb SIte MOnth, or something like that. The point is that, by the end of the month, I will have an actual web site. What you’re reading this on is absolutely a web site, but it’s not my web site. It’s a domain pointing at a WordPress.com blog.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but to keep up with the Three-Year Plan (3YP), I need a lot more control and a lot greater ability to add and change things. I really like WordPress, but very soon it’s not going to be sufficient for my needs.
I’ll actually have web hosting and possibly even the initial framework of the website built by the time you read this, but I’m planning the need to fill in all of the holes, make sure it’s got the appropriate bells and whistles, and transfer over the relevant blog posts from Renaisance Ninja. I write relevant because I’m keeping Renaissance Ninja, but with the focus no longer including writing related things and broadening back to what it was intended to be: an eclectic collection of posts on my various interests and quest to experience new things.
For those of you doing Nano, especially the group who’s starting with a 4-day disadvantage due to World Fantasy, I wish you speedy fingers and a story that easily flows through them. I’ll be cheering from the sidelines.
Be well, everyone.by