My NaNoWriMo Journal

October 31, 2011

Tomorrow is the first official day of National Novel Writing Month, and this will be my first time participating.  I haven’t decided if I’m actually going to register with the NaNoWriMo website, but I’m going to see if I can put together a 50,000 word “novel”.  I thought I would throw together a little journal blog post about the experience.

I’ve been spending the past week making notes and plans, which is allowed under the rules.  You just aren’t supposed to write your first word until November 1.  I picked up Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, and I’ve been rushing to finish it the past few days.  It has given me so much useful information to make my novel way better than it would have been otherwise.  Most importantly it’s given me some confidence that I might even make it through the writing process.

I’ve got 31 scenes plotted out at this point.  Last night I had to draw a rough map of the setting, so that I could get the details of a plot point correct in my mind.  I’ve been doing lots of research that has probably been setting off warning bells at Homeland Security (military information).  I don’t want to give away any details of the story, because frankly I’m kind of embarrassed.  I have no delusions of grandeur.  But it’s a drama with a sci-fi element.  I just keep imagining scenes in my mind.  Who knows when I’ll find the time tomorrow to sit down and start actually writing them out.

November 1, 2011

I wrote about 3000 words today, split between the first four scenes.  I did it in snatches of twenty minutes here and there for a total of about two hours.  The first time I set my time for 20 minutes I was interrupted after 3 minutes to deal with preschooler potty issues and put the toddler down for the nap.  That’s the way it goes, though.  If I can keep up this pace, I should have no problem reaching 50,000 words.  It really helps that I have all of my scenes plotted out.  I know exactly what details I want to get across going in.

November 6, 2011

I didn’t get to do any writing at all yesterday, but today I managed to complete the first two scenes of Part II.  Story Engineering broke stories down into four parts, and then I have each part broken down into scenes.  I have written eleven scenes total so far over 21 pages in Microsoft Word.  (I can’t help wondering how that translates into the common type-setting of books.)  I started a new document for each part and added headers with the part and word count listed for easy reference.

11,376 words down.  38,624 to go.  But I’m at least slightly ahead of schedule (minimum of 1600 words per day).

November 9,2011

I’m halfway through my story and I’m only at 14,986 words.  This has me slightly worried that even if complete all the scenes that I have planned I won’t hit 50,000 words.  I know there are details that I need to go back and incorporate into the story.  And of course, everything needs to be proofread.

Part of me has been thinking about any new scenes that could be added to lengthen the story.  Another part of me is thinking that everything I’ve plotted out my really just be Act 1 of a two-act story.  In which case, I would quickly need to plot out the second Act like I did the first act.  I don’t know if this would reflect inspired genius or just desperation.

November 15, 2011

I have 25, 285 words.  I’m halfway there (word wise) and the month is half over.  But I am three quarters through the story I have plotted.  I decided just to write out the scenes I have plotted.  If I have time I will go back in the editing process and see if I can lengthen what I have.  If it still doesn’t make 50,000 words, oh well.  My goal was to see if I could start a story and actually finish it.  The word count is really a secondary goal, and I still haven’t registered with the official site.

This last section had nine scenes, and it was my longest section of the three.  My last quarter of the story is set for eleven scenes.  We’ll see if I get 25,000 words out of it.  I seriously doubt it, though.  I’ll just have to see what happens.

November 24, 2011

It’s Thanksgiving.  I just finished telling my story.  But I’m only at 34,402 words.  There are six days left in the month.  My main goal was just to finish my story.  Anything from this point on is just icing.  Ideally over the next six days I hope to have time to go back over the entire story, proofread, and edit.  There may be room to add another scene or two here or there, but to be honest I’m getting a little tired.

This whole process has been a big drain on my time, but I’m glad that I’ve done it.  I’m glad to have finished a story for the first time since probably high school, and that writing back then was total soap opera drivel.  For the first time I think I’ve written something of substance.

November 26, 2011

Yesterday I tried to print out my story, but I ran out of ink in my printer with 12 pages left.  That being said, it was a lot thicker than I imagined it would be, about 70 pages.  It seems more real seeing it in print.  I’m going to try to get a new ink cartridge today in order to print out those pages and then I’ll see how much editing I can get done in the next four days.

December 4, 2011

It’s been four days since NaNoWriMo officially ended.  I still had three pages to left to edit at the end of the day on November 30th, and I was still only at 35,785.  I found a spot where I could have added another chapter without comprising the stories integrity, but I doubt I could have made up all of the 14,000+ word difference for the contest in that chapter.  I must admit that it’s a little disappointing that I couldn’t hit the 50,000 word mark, especially since that is actually about 20,000 words short of most published novels.  The whole process has put some things in perspective, and that might warrant a blog post in and of itself.

In the meantime, I do hope to find the time in the next few weeks to finish editing those three pages, and maybe I’ll write that extra chapter.  Then I might put the story away for a little while.  I think in some ways I am still too close to it now to fully assess how good I think my novel is.  I’m also not sure that I’m brave enough to share it with anyone yet.

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