NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

NaNoWriMo Winner 2014

This is my fourth consecutive win. It sort of feels a little less-satisfying that the others. For one thing, I’m writing something that’s intensely personal, so I kind of felt pretty drained by it. Also, there was a lot of research involved because it’s historical fiction, so even when I wasn’t writing, the topic was all-consuming of my time. I have a bibliography with 20+ titles on it, and links to hundreds of websites. I have a web folder full of images, maps, and two different pinterest pages, one for the novel and one for one of the main characters.

Another reason I feel drained is because it isn’t done – and I have two other unfinished novels that I haven’t been able to get past the 75% mark. This novel I plotted out far more than the others, and I feel like it has a better chance of having some resonance, but the last two days of writing were excruciating and involved me basically throwing junk on the page. I’m so far off my outline it isn’t even funny, and I definitely need to regroup.

NaNoWriMo is great for getting a ton written in a short amount of time and staying motivated. It’s terrible for causing burnout. And all my efforts to pick up the threads and try to finish at a less punishing pace in the months that follow NaNoWriMo have fallen into failure in the past.

I’m committed to changing that scenario this year and getting the book to something readable to others. But I also need to take the month to do some reading as well.

So basically, I’m optimistic, but dazed. Which is probably normal for me, right?

The running tally of my word count this year. Compared to last year, I was far behind most of the time, rather than ahead. I didn’t plan my resources properly and I let a lot of distractions in the door this year, which didn’t help.


1. 1,667 - 4218 (4218, +2551)
2. 3,334 - 1691 (5909, +2575)
3. 5,001 - 1060 (6969, +1968)
4. 6,668 - 1701 (8670, +2002)
5. 8,335 - 1051 (9721, +1386)
6. 10,002 - 126 (9847, -155)
7. 11,669 - 1031 (10878, -791)
8. 13,336 - 3922 (14800, +1464)
9. 15,003 - 1817 (16617, +1614)
10. 16,670 - 1762 (18358, +1688)
11. 18,337 - 0 (18358, +21)
12. 20,004 - 0 (18358, -1646)
13. 21,672 - 0 (18358, -3313)
14. 23,338 - 0 (18358, -4980)
15. 25,005 - 4720 (23078, -1927)
16. 26,672 - 3747 (26825, +153)
17. 28,339 - 1837 (28662, +323)
18. 30,006 - 638 (29300, -706)
19. 31,673 - 0 (29300, -2373)
20. 33,340 - 161 (29461, -3879)
21. 35,007 - 366 (29827, -5180)
22. 36,674 - 4782 (34586, -2088)
23. 38,341 - 2268 (36854, -1487)
24. 40,008 - 440 (37294, -2714)
25. 41,675 - 4656 (41950, +275)
26. 43,342 - 1734 (43684, +342)
27. 45,009 - 813 (44497, -512)
28. 46,676 - 23 (44520, -2156)
29. 48,343 - 2733 (47253, -1090)
30. 50,010 - 2747 (50179, +179)

Continue ReadingNaNoWriMo 2014 Winner

NaNoWriMo 2014 Book Cover and Current Word Count

Every Word is True

The working cover I made for my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel. (Spoiler alert: some words might not actually be true.)

Also, a handy graphic that updates with my word count so you can see what I’ve got going. I’m at 8670 words, above word count for day 4, and I have a pretty good idea what’s coming next. I hope.

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Winner Winner, Turkey Dinner – 2013 NaNoWriMo Finish

50,119 Words, validated, means that I “win” National Novel Writing Month. I’m very grateful to Stephanie, who has been really supportive of me doing this, even though she’s had a lot of difficulties going on right now. We’re adjusting to her lengthy commute to her new job and a family illness, so it’s been a hard month, but she has been my cheerleader the whole time.

2013-winner

I still have a couple chapters to write, but I’m definitely closer to a finished product than I was in my last two winning attempts. And there is lots of editing to be done, in addition to finishing chapters. But I think this is the most satisfying win I’ve had of the three. This is one I think I might have a shot at getting published some day soon. It’s got some topical stuff in it, so if I want it to actually mean something, I have to get it done and try to get it out there.

2013-Winner-Twitter-Header

2013 Final Word Count

Victory

Good gravy do I have a lot of television piled up on the DVR to watch.

Continue ReadingWinner Winner, Turkey Dinner – 2013 NaNoWriMo Finish

NaNoWriMo 2013 Wordcount, day 19

2013 NaNoWriMo Word Count, Day 18

I’m three fifths of the way through National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and still on track for word count. I wouldn’t say the last few days are works of genius or anything. Or even spelled correctly. But they are word strung together on a page in some sort of semi-coherent fashion. So there’s that. Week 2 sucked. I don’t have high hopes for week three. I think I can make word count, I just don’t know if it will be anything anyone will want to read.

It’s also quite possible that I’m just responding to the weather like a pavlovian pooch, so never mind the doldrums.

I’m at 30,175 words. 120 some pages. So, there you go.

Continue ReadingNaNoWriMo 2013 Wordcount, day 19

NaNoWriMo 2013

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. I’ve undertaken this challenge in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012, and I “won” twice – in 2011 and 2012 by writing 50,000 words each year. That novel is pretty close to being complete, but needs some major revisions and finishing work, and I’m pretty burned out on it. I’m hoping that if I work on something else, eventually the epiphany I need to wrap up this first book with a creative and satisfactory ending will present itself. When I re-read it, I really enjoy it and think it’s interesting and good, so I don’t want to give up on it. But I need to move to something else.

(I’ve also participated in Camp NaNo in the summer months several times but never really made any progress).

So, this year, I’m starting on a fresh new story idea. I’m not saying a whole lot about it, other than it fits in the urban fantasy/supernatural genre and is set in Indianapolis, because I’m too lazy to research other cities. My working title is The Leyden Jar although that might be silly; I haven’t decided. I mocked up a cover, although I think it needs some tweaking.

The Leyden Jar - Book Cover

I’ve got a bit of it plotted out, but I haven’t had a lot of time to focus. It will be interesting going this year, given that I have a lot more chores around the house this year. I’m going to need to cut out a lot (or all) television viewing if I want to get this done.

2013-Participant-Facebook-Cover

Continue ReadingNaNoWriMo 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Preparation

I decided to get serious about plot, rather than just pantsing-it completely. I transferred the handy chart I got at GenCon to my bulletin board. And noted the troublesome spot where my plots commonly end up.

Plot Prep for NaNo

The chart is from the “Fiction Fundamentals Part 1: Plotting and Planning” led by Lawrence Connolly & William Horner III, which I got a lot out of.

I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to work on my past novel until it’s done or noodle on one of the other two ideas I’ve got, but I figure I’ll try to get real outlines in place for all three before I start and decide which feels best.

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Camp NaNoWriMo 2013 Participant

Camp NaNo Participant 2013 Facebook Cover

Yep, so I’m going to do Camp NaNoWriMo 2013 for April. My project for this writing commitment is to finish the novel I worked on (and “won” with) in 2011 and 2012. Prior to today’s additions, it was at 78,391 words. (I wrote 50,000+ words for it in November 2011, threw out over half of them, and wrote 50,000+ additional words in November 2012.)

I had a solid start this morning with 1,061 words. My goal (you can be flexible and set your own goals for Camp) is 30,000 words, so I’m on track for this month.

2013-Participant-Campfire-Circle-Badge

I gave myself a guilt trip to spur myself along by buying the shirt for Camp NaNo. Now I have to finish so I can wear it without feeling like a fraud.

I’m behind on where I wanted to be with this novel; I set an ambitious plan to have a working manuscript to self-publish by April, and I haven’t finished or recruited beta readers. I still want to get all this done in the early part of the year so I can move on to planning another writing project. And see what self-publishing is really like.

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Some other NaNoWriMo Thoughts

Trying to write 50,000 words in a month felt like holding my breath under water – everything else was suspended while I worked on writing. I basically ate, slept, went to work and wrote. I cut out television, most socializing and practically all other stuff that invades my day. Trying to keep the house clean, pay attention to twitter or running errands all those distractions went on the back burner. (Facebook was a must, though – because interacting with the NaNo Indy group was a lifeline to keep me going.)

It worked, largely because I removed a lot of barriers to focusing and getting in the zone to writing, and the forced deadline can work wonders.

Is that sustainable, though? Can I really zone out my friends, turn off the television and blow off the house all the time?

I wish there were a better way to balance. Because not writing is not an option, now.

Cutting out the television is pretty easy. Helping around the house, running errands and socializing are more difficult. I’m considering whether twitter really has much of a place in my life anymore.

I need to simplify things so I can both write and interact with my spouse and go to my job without becoming an ascetic.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated on this matter.

Continue ReadingSome other NaNoWriMo Thoughts

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Validated

So.. I won NaNoWriMo again this year.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2012

I finished three days early – with 50,058 words written this year added to what I wrote last year. Now I need to write the actual final chapters and not just scenes from the climactic ending, but hey – I’m a lot closer to a complete work than last year. Now it’s not a question of if I will ever self-publish, but when.

Last year at this time, I was reading over my novel, and I was really frustrated, because it seemed complete unrealistic. At about the half-way point of the story, I had one of my two main characters do something completely out of character for the way I had written about her up to that point. I did it because I couldn’t think of any other way to get her in the excruciating position she needed to be in so the villain could torment her and drive the rest of the plot. But that false note made all the rest of it seem really hard to believe. It just didn’t read right, and all the following events seemed flat and desperate, like a huge rationalization. I chewed on that for the whole rest of the year and didn’t know what to do. I loved the beginning and loved the characters, but I hated the middle and the end.

This year Garrett Hutson said something at the being of November about plot development along the lines of – “know where your characters are going to go, but to get them there, use a compass, not a map.” That set me thinking – okay, if that plot point seems out of character for my main character, what would she actually do instead? I threw out everything except the end where the characters needed to go, and started writing from just before that false note… and I realized if I changed the villain slightly, and added secondary villain who was working with and also at cross-purposes to the first one, I could get the MC into that excruciating position in a more real way, and then all the dominos started to fall one by one. Now I like the whole story from beginning to end. Even though I threw out 23,000 words I wrote last year and started over, this is a much better story, and one that makes me really happy to read throughout.

I’m in danger, though, of not keeping up with the story now. I hate that the 50,000 word mark was a finish line of sorts, because it’s not done at all, and I still need to keep writing it. It’s good, I think, and original, and interesting, so I need to actually push through and finish.

It was a huge accomplishment that I never thought I could do once, let alone twice. I need to make it work for real. If you could – cattle prod me, please? Bug me about it as much as possible so I don’t get complacent. This was cool, and something that was important to me to do, so I don’t want to let it slide.

Continue ReadingNaNoWriMo 2012 – Validated