Another NaNoWriMo Done

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Well, not “done” done. I’m still planning on attending a couple more write-in events that the local chapter of NaNo organized, but I’ve got my 50K words, which is the general goal.

I’ll admit that I’m a little disappointed in myself that it took me until the 26th to reach that 50K. In my first year, which was also my first novel, I got it done in twelve days. I wasn’t finished the story until November 25th of that year, but by then I had 111,199 words. Waaaaaay too long for the story I was telling. I’ve talked about this one before on the blog, so feel free to scroll down to wherever, or click backspace, or check Facebook or whatever you want to do.

I’ve tried to rework that first novel several times, most recently this past summer. It was a mess, which I guess is to be expected since I tried to type as fast as I could think (with occasional tripping over pinky fingers) and I apparently think in scattered meanderings despite working from an outline. I also refused to use the backspace key during that first draft. Thus the enormous word count. Since then, I have changed the format. I have changed the tense. I changed the era when the story took place and then I changed it back again.

Eventually, I figured out that the problem wasn’t even the type-as-fast-as-you-think prose. There were weird little moments from that which I would definitely keep. The problem was in the initial concept. After a few months of setting it aside, I think I know how to fix things so that the logic is up to my satisfaction, but it requires a choice that will affect the message I’m sending out. For the record, I’m not a fan of stories that exist to send a message, but every story has a message whether you want it to or not, even if the message is “the world is a weird and frightening place.”

In my second year of NaNoWriMo I was trying to do multiple projects at once and got my word count in, but the only thing I really completed was a 10K sample that I was using to apply for a job writing a novel series. A good exercise probably, and I can mine some of it for future use, but I didn’t get the job. The short stories I can definitely use, and I got a good dent in each of them, but I haven’t gotten around to finishing them up. I’ve written, completed, and rewritten other stories in the meantime. Should probably get back to these ones in the new year…

In my third year of NaNo, last year, I got the 50K in on day 20, and finished at the end of the month at 84,470. So much more reasonable, and it’s a project that I can definitely work with. I was doing rewrites for this one in summer and early fall, and I think I only need one more pass with it before I feel comfortable letting someone else read. I even pitched it to an editor at a respected medium-sized publisher who is interested enough that she told me to send it when it’s ready. Still, there were many moments in the first draft where I was writing as fast as I was thinking up words and it got weird in a not terribly useful way, as opposed to an entertaining way. I can definitely make it ready for the world, though.

This year’s NaNoWriMo, I decided to take a completely different tactic: make the sentences decent from the get-go, even though it means the number of words on the page are significantly fewer than the numbers of words that I actually typed during that time. It takes way longer, twice as long as that first giant blurt of novel three years ago. I’m now also doing more research more as I go, rather than leaving it to fix later. This new project is going up onto another blog, piece by piece, starting in January. When the time comes, you can read it here: TerribleTarot.com

Technically, my new site / NaNo project is not a novel but a humour blog with a smattering of characters and ongoing stories. If it were a book, I’d put it in the humour section rather than the fiction section.

I’m not worried about terribletarot.com being ready for January. I’d start uploading right away but I suspect drawing in new readers would be harder to do around the Holidays. There isn’t as much to do in January. People will be sitting at home trying to pay off their bills and fulfill their New Years resolutions and looking for new ways to procrastinate, which is what blog reading is for.

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