bonny_kate: (eve)
Being a summary of what I learned from NaNo.

- I can do it! I've never written anything this long before, and certainly I've never written this much in such a short amount of time. It isn't just that I managed to write all those words, but that they are also (more or less) a story. Now I have the very valuable knowledge that I can do it, if I want to. It's funny, but I would have thought that my friend Maggie would be more likely to win NaNo. She's written several novels, all of them much longer than a mere 50,000 words. She told me, though, that she could never do NaNo. I used to think the same thing, but now I've done it. It is both easier and harder than I thought it would be.

- Outlines. An outline was essential, and I don't think I could have gotten through the first day much less any further without one. I only diverged from it on one or two points, and only rearranged a couple of scenes to make it flow better. But I needed to know where I was going. However, if I ever write a novel again, I am spending more time thinking about the outline, and writing a longer outline. My outline worked out to about one bullet point for every thousand words, and was not nearly enough. I kept having to stretch things out. Next time I should think more in terms of scenes, and have about one to two scenes for every thousand words or so. That means an outline easily two or three times as long, and more detailed.

- Weekends. Strangely enough, I had a harder time writing on weekends. I thought I would be able to catch up, but the reality is that I used the weekends to do everything that I didn't have time to do during the week because I was writing. Also, Thanksgiving did not help, because while I wasn't working, I was still busy with family things. It also denied me my thirty minute writing bit during lunch break, which meant that I generally had to do all the writing in one ginormous chunk at the end of the day, instead of having somewhat less to write because I knocked off 500 words during the day. So, weekends weren't that helpful, and I never got that high of a word count for one day. What was key was writing every day, and trying to meet that 2,020 word goal, which was a reasonable goal.

- Writing speed. NaNo was a headlong plunge, with no time to look back. Generally I only spared a few minutes to read the previous paragraph or two, before plunging onwards again. And, when I wrote during my lunch break, I generally didn't even do that. I always had to be thinking about what was next to write, without time to really think about how it fit with everything I'd written before. I felt like I didn't have enough time to think about the story that I was writing, even though I was obsessed with the thing.

- Writing quality. Because of the breakneck speed, my writing is much below average. I didn't have time to think about sentence construction, or choosing my words carefully, because I had to make that word count. This means that the story will need v. serious editing if I ever want to do anything with it. I also gave myself permission to write complete rubbish. I told myself every day that I didn't care all that much about the story, because it was the only way that I could write that fast. I think it probably shows.

- Walls. I hit several walls while writing. I would hit a point and feel like I couldn't write another word. In the usual scheme of things, I would take a break from writing for a day or a week, but I wasn't allowed that luxury. Feeling like you've hit a wall and can't write another single word is part of writing, but I've never (with the possible exception of papers) hit it so hard before. There were times when I felt like I'd hit that wall and had to force out every word for two or three days in a row. Thank goodness for my insane and often hidden stubbornness. Every time, I simply refused to give up and ploughed ahead.

- Time. Realistically, I think that writing 2,000 words a day is just too much, at least for a normal month. It gives me so little time to do anything else, especially since I work full time and there are all those other pesky little things that should happen during the month. I could generally write that much in two or three hours every night, and when you consider that I really only have about four hours in the evening, that doesn't leave much left over.

- Cohesiveness. I'm not sure exactly how to explain this, but I shall try anyway. When I write a short story, I generally have the briefest of outlines, with only a word or two summary of each scene as a simple reminder. I can keep the story more or less in my head all at once. I don't mean that I have every word written out, but I can see the entirety of the story at once. I can see all the major elements, all the scenes, and the point of the story, so to speak. But a novel is just too big to do this. It's just too big to see all at once, or at least in the same detail. This is why I think a detailed outline is probably crucial to ever writing a novel again. When I write a short story, I can be thinking about all the scenes in the short story when I am writing one particular scene, and so can be thinking about how it fits in with the story as a whole. But in a novel, it is just too big to think about all the scenes at once.

- NaNo again. If I want to write a novel, and there is one lovely story idea that has been rattling around in my head and is quite possibly novel length, I don't think I'll write it as a NaNo. When I write a paper, I prefer to have a clear outline and spend ages getting the outline right and my ideas straight, so that I have a minimum of editing. I've gotten better at this. But the same applies to my stories. I'd rather think more about them and how I want them to be, and more as I write, and then have less editing and a cleaner story. I know NaNo is just supposed to be a first draft, but my novel is so v. rough that I think I would rather take much longer in the writing part of the process. It was v. encouraging to watch the little bars move up on the NaNo website, and really motivating, but the fact is that I stretched out scenes longer than they should have been just to help that wordcount.

- My other novel. Now, I'm not absolutely sure about this, but I think that I other novel that I was writing (fondly called the Bat Novel), which I have spent ages writing and isn't nearly done, may now never get done. I think, and I'm not sure, but I think it isn't going to be finished. I think I'm over it. On one hand, it is v. sad that I've spent so much time on that novel to not finish it, but a lot of what I wanted to say is said in the NaNo, and said much better. All the bits that I liked, and that I wanted to write, will probably end up in a story at some time or other. But I'm just not convinced anymore that the Bat Novel is a cohesive novel. I started writing the Bat Novel as just a scene, and then the plot got added, and I don't think it's a cohesive whole. I sort of stuck two stories together that I'm not sure ought to go together. One of those stories turned into the NaNo, although sadly there are bits that I really like that I may never do anything with. I'm very sorry to everyone who has ever asked to read the Bat Story, and especially to Jenn, because I'm not sure anymore that it will be finished.

In short, NaNo was a crazy, headlong plunge with no time to look back and scarcely time to breathe. I'm glad I did it, and v. glad I won, but now I'm glad it's over and I can work on job applications and think about Christmas.


Dec. 6th, 2008 12:04 am
bonny_kate: (Default)
2,072 words today, but the much, much better news is that I've finished the novel! 57,516 words and I typed the last sentence just now. But I'm much too exhausted to properly post my happiness, so I shall do that tomorrow and right now I'm going to bed.
bonny_kate: (eve)
1,083 words today. I plan on finishing this novel on Friday. If the creek don't rise. Only another two or three thousand words, I think.

Today I burned trashcans. And killed a dragon.
bonny_kate: (eve)
2,122 words today, which puts it up to a total of 54,361. I should finish Thursday or Friday, depending on how long *exactly* this last bit is.

The griffons have come!
bonny_kate: (eve)
Nothing written today, because I ran out of time. Too many things that had to be done (Christmas shopping, for one). But I shall write tomorrow, for sure.


Nov. 30th, 2008 10:40 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Today went well, 2,103 words, and I wrote one of my favorite bits. 52,235 is the official count for words written in November.
bonny_kate: (eve)
I won NaNo, but I'm trying to finish this novel because I'm so very close. I think I'm within five or six thousand words, and I can't bear to let the novel sit unfinished for months and months for the lack of a few days. So, I'm going to try to finish writing the thing this week, within the next few days. I didn't write anything at all yesterday, for the first time since starting NaNo, I think.

The griffins are coming, although no one knows it yet.


Nov. 29th, 2008 12:19 am
bonny_kate: (eve)
Yesterday, 2,025 words, even though it was Thanksgiving, because I stayed up late to write. Today I stayed up late as well, and got 2,069 words. Woot!

Now, I don't usually use all caps, but I will make an exception, because I BROKE 50,000 WORDS! HUZZAH! I HAVE WON THE NANO!

Confetti, streamers, balloons and dirigibles are forthcoming. It still hasn't sunk in that I won yet.


Nov. 27th, 2008 12:20 am
bonny_kate: (eve)
Up too late writing. *sigh* Only 1,607 words today, which is sadly four hundred words short of my goal, but I'm too tired to write anything else.


Nov. 25th, 2008 10:46 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Bah. I'm writing well enough, but I still feel like I've hit a wall. All that bit about the last bit being all downhill? I don't believe it. The last bit is uphill when you don't have any breath left and your legs are killing you, and you want to quit but you can see the finish line just ahead, and so you somehow keep going. Ok, enough with the lousy metaphor.

2,541 words today. Oh. My. Gosh. So many words, and now I will make no sense if I keep talking, so to bed. 44,429 total . . . nearly there!


Nov. 24th, 2008 11:03 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Still feel like I'm trudging along, but the end is nigh. Also, eventually the griffins will show up.

Today I followed the white stag and talked about how to wake the trees. 2,070 words. Grand total of 41,888.


Nov. 23rd, 2008 10:29 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
2,030 words yesterday!

Hit another wall. This one is probably the worst so far. I wanted desperately to give up today, but only five more days left after today and I will have hit 50,000 words, so I can't give up.

2,057 words today, in about two hours. Eesh. That's enough for today. My grand total is 39,818. Only five more days to hit 50k, and another three or four to finish the novel . . .


Nov. 23rd, 2008 09:49 pm
bonny_kate: (Default)
I feel like putting all my updates in terms of my NaNo. Such as,

"Today I killed a unicorn."

"Today I explained the nature of the world."

bonny_kate: (eve)
The NaNo is eating up my time . . . it is all disappearing. . .

2,075 words today, and that in about two (non consecutive) hours. Maybe three. 35,731 words total! I'm getting there . . .


Nov. 20th, 2008 10:59 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Pampered Chef party today, which was fun, and there was excellent food. However, this left less time for writing. Fortunately, I am not at this precise moment in a slump.

2,219 words! Oh, and I totally forgot to mention that I passed the 30,000 word mark! Yay! That is what I was originally going to try for, when I thought that there was no way I could hit the full 50,000 words. But I think I can do it. I've found that watching ten or fifteen minutes of a light show like Chuck and then writing helped tremendously (sort of a reward, I write in five hundred word increments or so). But yesterday I discovered that Pushing Daisies works even better, and three episodes in I really, really like it, as much for the narrator as for anything else. It is also, apparently, as of today, canceled. Bah, humbug. Anywho, 33,656 words total!


Nov. 19th, 2008 10:20 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Today went well, 2,333 words. A hard bit to write, because some of the characters are hurting, and some of them are being stupid, and sometimes both at once. But, it is written, and now I can go to bed. You know, I shall be glad when November is over, and the novel is written, because then I shall be able to make time for things other than writing. (Like, yanno, looking for that job in LA that I want.)


Nov. 18th, 2008 10:16 pm
bonny_kate: (eve)
Microsoft Word does not recognize the following: Gareth, Jenn, Mordred, manticore, and Logres. Really, come on now, a manticore is not that strange.

A few extra words today, to make up for yesterday's deficit. 2,128. I am a writing maniac (or so I'd like to think). Really, though, all my characters do lately is have long conversations about things.


Nov. 17th, 2008 11:01 pm
bonny_kate: (doctor and rose)
Only 1,984 words today, which is just a smidge short of my goal, but it is late and so I must get to bed for I've work in the morning. This is also a very good spot to stop for a bit.

I've passed the halfway mark! Huzzah! 26,976 words! I'll definitely be meeting my first goal of 30,000 words, and that 50,000 words is looking feasible, although it's still pretty far away.


Nov. 16th, 2008 11:04 pm
bonny_kate: (kaylee)
2,331 words today, which is pretty good. I also balanced my checkbook and did laundry. Huzzah. Now I must go sleep, for my brain is totally fried.
bonny_kate: (Default)
I've found that writing in 500 word increments really helps me. I write 500 words, and then I take a break and watch ten or fifteen minutes of a show. It has worked decently well for this weekend when I've been trying to write my NaNo for the day all in a chunk.

Interestingly enough, this is a King Arthur retelling with vampires and Robin Hood, but not the King Arthur retelling with vampires and Robin Hood that I've been writing forever now. No, my NaNo is a modern story that bears more than a slight resemblance to the previously mentioned story. Yah. My characters are still wandering around talking all the time. This is one of those books where people talk and talk and then occasionally something happens. Oh, well, onward.


bonny_kate: (Default)
Kate Saunders Britton

April 2017

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