Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Month: December 2020

Nanowrimo 2020 — The Wrap-Up

Reaching the end of Nanowrimo has always felt like a triumphant exulatation (think Princess Leia hugging Chewbacca at the end of Star Wars with a face-splitting grin and “We did it!”).

This year wasn’t like that. I don’t think it had anything to do with Pandemic Malaise, but maybe more with my having accomplished this before (writing a 50,000 word novel in a month) and knowing that I still have a ways to go before the novel will be finished.

Still, it is nice to know that I managed to make it through once again, even with a) pantsing the whole damn thing, and b) writing a mystery. Oh, and then there was that pandemic, and a goofy election. And I’m sure a whole bunch of other stuff.

Now what?

The short answer: keep writing. As I said in the Day 29 post, I still have probably 15-20,000 more words to go to finish the first draft. Then I will let it sit while I go tackle the other novels I wrote this year (there are three waiting on the sidelines for me to start cleaning them up for publishing).

I am also still meeting with my writing partner, and we set a deadline for later this month to each produce a ‘holiday story’. I wrote one that became Wilde & Sweet, set in the Seven Territories world (aka Old West cowboys and magic), so I’m looking for this new story to have a completely different setting, which it has: a modern-day corporate cubicle-walled office with the worst ‘team bonding’ holiday games. Now to fit in something that makes reality bend just a wee bit…

So yeah, I’ll just fit that little story in while continuing to work away at the Nano novel. While trying to publish the Seven Territories collection. That’s all.

Final thoughts

Thanks for following along on this crazy writing adventure. I hope this inspires people—maybe even reassures them—that they don’t have to know what they are writing (goodness knows I didn’t, and still don’t), and to let the Nanowrimo experience be one for playing with ideas and letting yourself get caught up in a world of your own making. Given the way this year has gone, it’s been a true escape to write about an urban fantasy-noir world with wizards and merfolk and talking cats and dive bars and tons of Star Wars references. Getting to play in that world, as frustrating at times as it can be not knowing how it will all shake out, continues to be a joy.

Notes for the Future (aka Useful Things):

  • Place Butt in Chair, alone, with no noise or distractions
  • Writemonkey FTW (i.e. distraction-free writing software)
  • Never panic. Just read over what you’ve written the previous day and then write from there.
  • Especially when writing made-up worlds, and especially when writing mysteries, keep a running note of the details that come up (characters, locations, CLUES).
  • Have fun, dammit!

Total novel writing time: 2825 minutes (47 hours)

Total novel word count (by Nov. 30): 50,372 words

Nanowrimo 2020 — Days 27-30

Day 27

And now comes the final push. With the end in sight (or at least the 50,000 word count goal), I sat down and went to work. Had my highest word count day yet at 5000 words (yes, exactly 5000), and that felt good.

90″ 1866, 40″ 1303, 70″ 1831 (200″ 5000 words)

Day 28

I didn’t know where to start with the new chapter, even with my very rough outline. Maybe Hemingway was on to something with his advice: “The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next.

25″ 770 words

Day 29

The end was clearly in sight with less than 4000 words to hit the 50,000 word goal. So I just kept going at it, putting more words down, moving the story forward. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have word count goals for motivation (just 3000 words to go, now 2500…), as opposed to a ‘just keep plugging away until it’s done’.

So I reached 50,000 words (woo hoo!) and ‘won’ Nanowrimo with a mostly pantsed mystery novel. It feels good to reach the goal (50,000 words in a month), but the novel isn’t finished—I probably have another ten chapters or so to go, which means 15,000-20,000 words, and then there will be the cleaning/fleshing out scenes, so my best guess is it will end up around 80,000 total words for a finished publishable novel.

I’m making good progress and the story is coming along. It is not a difficult pace to keep up, especially if I didn’t have full-time work happening at the same time, and I’m not even getting into a discussion about the chaos that the pandemic is wreaking on my life (mostly reflected in the ever-fluctuating full-time work schedule), or the lack of house projects and cleaning that I’ve done. Although I have to say that the house stuff could be more related to the pandemic than Nanowrimo. And I realized that it’s all too easy to blame the pandemic for everything, when at the same time the pandemic also made some writing-life aspects easier (not having a 2.5 hour commute some days certainly bolstered my available time or writing).

80″ 1784, 75″ 1775 (155″ 3559 words)

Day 30

With the Nanowrimo goal hit and my “Winner!” certificate downloaded, I spent the rest of the usual writing time revisiting where I’m at with the next publishing project (a collection of the “Seven Territories” stories in print and ebook with an awesome cover!) and researching potential writing software.

This month showed me (at times rather painfully) that I need to change my process, especially when dealing with novels that have multiple subplots, and especially especially when dealing with mysteries (all those clues!). So of course I had to dive down multiple rabbit holes researching different options for software that make my life easier. Would the time have been better put to actually writing? I honestly don’t know. I’m just hoping that if I can get a process sorted out that is reliable and works for me, then I can start moving forward, and maybe even make the writing happen faster.

0″ for 0 words, but a fair bit of research (2 hours, and not counted towards Nano time)

TOTALS: 2825″ (47 hours) and 50,372 words

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