And the NaNoWriMo Results…

At the beginning of last month, I set out to write a novel–50,000 words of one,  anyway–in 30 days.

And… I was going to do this one sheet of paper at a time, in hopes of a cleaner draft and ultimately, an easier revision. (I’m always looking for an easier revision.)

I was behind from day one.

Obviously, write longhand and then type is not the best strategy for speedy drafting. And that really wasn’t the point.

At the end of the month, I had roughly 14,000 words. That’s not great, and it’s not even average for me. (I usually wind up closer to thirty or forty thousand words in a month, and I aim a little higher than that in a good year.)

I was also blogging–mostly unrelated–and that would add a few thousand more words. Haven’t counted. And there’s the short story I wrote for the Advent Calendar this year. Oh. And I never really got away from the revision I was working on before I started Nano.

So, I started on November 1st with ONE piece of paper on a clipboard and a pencil.

And I started writing the ONE scene that was lodged in my mind.

And then, what?

Well, I found a few more scenes over the course of a month, but I never really got into the story. It never started to feel like one of my stories, and I never really started having fun with it.

Maybe I was a little afraid of this one. It’s the kind of thing that has to be done really well. Otherwise… it would fall off the edges, and either turn into a sermon or a farce.

So… what I learned from NaNoWriMo 2016

  • writing longhand DOES produce cleaner drafts BUT in my case, at least, the reduction in speed adds up to a reduction in passion. I’m not sure which part of that is going to be useful in the future.
  • I may be better off to write as a NaNo Rebel, and work on whatever I already have in the works.
  • Even if something sounds more efficient, it may not be the best path for me.
  • I still need to get out there and be a part of the community, even when things aren’t going well. I started tanking in word count, and withdrew. I didn’t do a lot of the social things on the Nano Site that I would have liked to.

For next year… I’m not really sure what the goal should be, but I’m probably going to keep working on whatever I’m working on when it gets here. I’ll also focus more on the community building aspect of it.

So, what about you? Lessons learned? Strategies for next year?

And In NaNo Novel News…

My main character has just eloped. With a fairly brilliant physicist. Who knows less about his own family history than she does. (His dead, non-English speaking grandmother told her all about it.) I don’t have the faintest idea what that has to do with anything. At any rate, they’re married, Vegas-style, and he’s in their hotel room on their wedding night, offering her an annulment.

They are not getting an annulment.

What I have right now is a series of fragments. I don’t understand exactly how they go together, and the only thing keeping me from quitting is ONE mysterious character who’s dug in his heels.

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Maybe it didn’t have enough time to gel before I started in on it. Maybe I’m intimidated by the whole topic. Who knows?

Anyway, I have to track down more fragments, and get in some more words.

Wish me luck.

Word Sprints and Catching Up for NaNoWriMo

I’m still more than a little behind on my Nano-Novel. I got in some word sprints with Team Holly yesterday, and I clocked a little over 5,000 words. I don’t really expect to do that well, today. Work ate up a lot of my time, and then some other things, and long story short, I’m just now sitting down in front of the computer.

For anyone who doesn’t know, word sprints are short, timed writing exercises, in which you try to get as many words possible in ten or fifteen minutes. My record is somewhere in the neighborhood of 400, and from all accounts, that’s really not too bad a count.

One of the biggest benefits of word sprints is that it reminds you just how long ten or fifteen minutes really is. You actually can get a lot done in ten minutes. At 400 words per session, I’d get my nano quota done in less than an hour.

I’m going to admit to cheating on my one piece of paper thing here. I need the words to catch up, and I’m really not quite to the point that I’m focused or even really feeling like this is my project.

I don’t usually get much more than 400 words over the course of my lunch hour. Part of that is the small talk, and part of it’s the eating, but I’d be pleased with that.

Today, I was drowning in small talk.

I’m still hoping to get my quota–or maybe a little more in on the project, so I gotta run. Suddenly, it’s starting to look like I might actually hit 50 k this month.

So, Uhm… My Novel is About…

I’m supposed to be drawing a get well card for a friend of mine who just had surgery. (Open heart, triple bypass. Haven’t seen him yet, ’cause no coughing on the heart patients, but I hear he looks much better.) It’s going to be a picture of a rat’s ass, because he’s usually saying things about people not giving a rat’s ass. So… well, come on! Someone has to give the man a rat’s ass. And they don’t actually make rat’s ass shaped balloons. I Googled.

I am also supposed to be writing a couple thousand words for NaNoWriMo. I’m a little behind. Not impossibly behind, but didn’t get my head start, well and truly distracted by current events, and not exactly sure where my story is going behind.

Someone I work with–a civilian, people–asked me if I was still writing. (Yeah. Writers quit all the time, don’t we? *smirks*) And if I was working on the same thing I was working on the last time he asked. (Probably four years ago?) And then, he asked me what this one was.

It’s a science fiction novel about a family who are quantum-ly entangled with the victims of Hiroshima.

Don’t you love the look on non-writers’ faces when you say things like that?

I didn’t even get to the part with Dostoyevsky.

Links and Last Minute NaNo Prep

I have some links to share, because new stuff seems to be popping up every time I turn around, right now.

This year, Holly Lisle is sponsoring a team for NaNoWriMo. You can find the introductions thread on the Nano Forums here. If you’re already a Holly student, there are also threads on the Holly’s Writing Website, And if you aren’t one of her students, she does offer a free flash-fiction course. Sign up here, and you’re into all of the NaNo related forums.  Heck, you might like it and turn into a permanent resident.

PLUS… This year, Holly is also hosting an online writing room. If you want to be notified of where the room will be, and when sign up for the links at Holly’s blog.

It’s still a little early to be thinking of the Holidays, but subscriptions for the annual Advent Calendar start now! That’s a free short story from a different author and a special bonus every day leading up to Christmas. Or, you know… Sunday, if you don’t happen to be Christian. (These are short, secular Sci Fi and Fantasy stories.)

For those of you who missed it, the StoryTime Blog Hop was on the 27th, and my story (And links to everyone else’s) are here. Halloween theme, so a lot of scary stories this time.

Other than that, I’m all ready for Nano. I won’t be staying up til midnight to start, but I’ll hit the day early tomorrow.

See you there.