Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Last Day of the Last NaNo

November 30, that day of reckoning.

I have a confession: I gave up on NaNoWriMo somewhere around the end of week 2. I had pretty much assumed there would be a break in the process, as their usually is, for my annual Ren Faire sewing project. What I did not count on was being flattened with a cold in the wake of that expedition and thence pushed straight into the holiday visit from my husband’s family.

When I took off from trying for a daily count, I had already decided that I wasn’t going to hit 50,000 words, and that this is probably the last year I will actually try NaNo. A friend and I were discussing the benefits and drawbacks of the NaNo pace, and both of us concluded that it’s a good shot in the arm but not the way we prefer to produce. For me it got words flowing again, and that was what I really wanted. I don’t think I will go through a dry spell like this early fall was for a long time in the future, and I enjoyed the chance to work on a project without pressure and without caring what the result was. But…it’s not how I produce, just shoving words out, and I was doing fairly well at producing until this pregnancy whacked my brain out of alignment. Now it’s back in equilibrium, and I can go back to how I function best.

So my final stat is actually kind of pathetic for a NaNo attempt: 10,873 words.

Sadly, I did not even hit my compromise-goal win by finishing the prologue. I think I could have if not for getting sick…I have between 2 and 4 scenes of it left, which equates to somewhere between 1600 and 5000 words. With this past week to work instead of lie on my couch in a daze that would have been attainable, considering I know the content of all remaining scenes in the prologue.

I am not sure what I do from here–stick with this story at least till I have written through the parts I know and possibly beyond if it keeps revealing itself to me as I move forward, or go back to the short I was working on, or back to the novel I started over the summer, or revise the novel I finished last spring and get into its side novellas…so many, many options, none of them tugging strongly at me. As long as I am writing something, I suppose, I frankly don’t care what it is.

In the meantime, I also need to get my Christmas novel published. My goal is to finalize formatting next weekend and have it up no later than December 15. Formal announcements as soon as I have it in readiness.

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The Ghosts of NaNo’s Past

I was trying to remember today how many times I have actually tried NaNoWriMo. I knew I tried last year, because the Christmas novel I’m currently prepping for publication started as my NaNo 2012 project, and I knew I had tried the year before, even though I wasn’t sure what I worked on. The main question was, did my Twelfth Night novels started as a NaNo 2010 project?

I went back and read all my posts with a NaNo tag and found reference to 2011 being my first time trying it. The creation date of my working-draft Twelfth Night docs corroborates this: 12/08/10.

Here’s the status of my past NaNo’s:

2011. The novel I had started in September of 2011, that I had thought would be mostly done after NaNo, was eventually finished…in late spring of 2013. Sadly, the 27K I wrote during November 2011 are in the first third of the novel–the part slated for complete rewriting and compression whenever I get around to revising the entire thing.

2012. The Christmas novella (so I thought at the time) turned into an actual novel, crossing 50,000 sometime in the late winter/early spring of 2013. It went through beta readers and a full line edit without needing any serious structural revisions, and will see the light of day at some point before Christmas this year.

So right now I am at 50% on NaNo attempts creating usable prose. Will be interesting to see what comes of the story I’m starting this year.

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NaNo Is Not the Time for Research

But damn it’s hard to knowingly write a potentially incorrect scene!

I am struggling with special marriage licenses. Specifically, was there a formal wait between issuance and the marriage, or not?

All the web resources I found last night did not mention a wait. BUT I know that once upon a time I found a really fabulous rant about the fact that there was a 3-day wait, that most authors don’t mention and thusly get wrong. In fact, that rant? Was what inspired the entire story I’m writing, because I decided to play with the scenario of what might inspire an aristocrat to try and get around that 3-day wait.

Now I am worried that the rant I read had it wrong, and there was no wait. This would not, in fact, impact the story at all at this point; the dying man’s aristocratic father would still have a reason to bribe Canterbury for a quick special license – it would just be to not do the eligibility research, rather than to either pre-date the license or give a dispensation for skipping the three days. It DOES change the specific conversation, but not the events or their later consequences.

Unfortunately for me…that conversation with Canterbury is the scene I am writing next. I’ve started it, got the father into the room with him. And now…I don’t know which way to write the damn thing. Do I write it both ways so I can just insert the proper one later, when I (hopefully) can get a definitive answer? Or just write it one way now and understand that I might have to tweak it a little bit later?

Oh, the trials of attempting historical accuracy….

In NaNoWriMo news, my word count has sunk to about 950 a day but considering it was a 0 beforehand, and also that on the days I actually write I am averaging more like 1200 words (I am just, obviously, not writing every single day nor making up the ground from skipped days), I am pleased with progress so far. I have revised my goal of “winning” to just getting out of the prologue. 🙂

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Five Days, Seven Thousand Words

That says it all, yes?

But when do I ever stop at paucity?

I have been consistent about sitting down to write first thing every morning. Some days I have hit my word goal before I got up again, others I’ve hit 400 words and stopped. On some of those days I came back to it later and others I did not. Obviously, since my daily average is 1400 – not quite the 1677 or whatever you’re supposed to hit daily to make the 50K in a month – I’ve had days where I made up ground from those 400 caps.

The main thing that I wanted out of attempting NaNoWriMo this year was to make writing easy and enjoyable again, after a long dry spell and struggles before that. So far, so good.

In terms of what the production has been: three scenes of the prologue down. Thought for a hot minute that the prologue was going to jump from 12K to 20K, then realized I was trying to include part of the main narrative in the prologue, so the projection is down to more like 15K. Still a helluva prologue.

The words have been flowing easy, both in the sense of my mental ability and the place I am taking the narrative. That latter being said…so far I am also still comfortably within the part I had mentally outlined, rather than the cliff of insanity that is me attempting to write a story I haven’t pre-discovered. Remains to be seen if the going stays this easy.

For now, I feel really satisfied with how far I’ve come and hopeful about where I’m going.

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A Good Day to Write About a Dead Man

I wrote 1300 words this morning before work. They were a little poignant, because they are from the point of view of a young man who will, by the time Chapter One opens, be dead. He has always died in the prologue, from the inception of this story; he has been a revenant in my imagination since he was born into it.

I don’t know if it will translate into my words, especially in a messy November first draft, but I look at him and what happens as a tragedy of youth, of its energy and passion and hotheadedness. I hope that I can do his memory honor by making him earnest and well-meaning and driven by the invincibility of the young and strong, rather than a fool. Today’s holiday makes writing his last hours feel auspicious and somehow appropriate. I am enjoying celebrating Day of the Dead by writing a dead man’s story. What about you?

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