NaNoWriMo 2010

No, I didn’t participate this year, just as I didn’t in the last two years as well. But last night while trying to fall asleep, I was thinking about it. And I had a rather…uncomfortable revelation.

I can remember my first NaNo project. I can remember the storyline, the characters, how the style kinda sorta changed somewhere between the first quarter and the rest of the book.

I can remember my second NaNo project. Again, characters, story, even dialogue. I remember how that one was more mapped out before I began, and how that started to bite me when I was going through the storyline and running out of words.  Had to invent a few diversions to pad it out.

I cannot for the life of me remember anything about my third and (so far) final project.  Nothing.  Not a damned thing.  Out of curiosity, I logged into my NaNo account, but of course I’d forgotten that they don’t keep info for previous years.  I looked over my entries for that year and of course I divulged nothing of plot, character, or dialogue.  Interestingly, I did seem to think the piece was working well.

I’m sure I have the piece somewhere, and should I find it, I’ll instantly remember the details.  But it does give me pause in thinking about my writing abilities.  When even I can’t remember it, it must not have been terribly good.

Yikes.

NaNoWriMo 2007

Yeah, I managed it.

Yeah, I managed it this year.  In the end, I got 52,815 words which I think may be my lowest word-count*.  Interesting contrast to the last two years, when I would write at least once a day about my progress, sometimes twice or three times.  How many entries have I written about NaNo this year?  Ten?

The first year was so exciting, because I’d been trying (and failing) to write more fiction for years, and for that month, the whole process was unbelievably exhilarating.  The next year was more problematic, as I chose a story that had a definite beginning and a definite end (though I eventually went past that point).  It was when I started running short of “middle” that I wondered if I could pull it off.  I managed it, though only just, largey because of that “post story” bit (which was one of the best bits, really).

This year, as previously noted in tedious detail, I had no ideas going in, no plan.  I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to do it, but I sat down and started anyway.  And I just sort of plowed on through, having things happen, noticing a turn of phrase and turning it into a story element, taking a random bit of dialogue and making it a major plot-point.  I suspect that’s one reason why I’ve written so little about the process; the thing was just so fluid, anything I could say would be irrelevant an hour or so later.

In some ways the experience was a lot of fun, but in others it was frustrating.  It was like the old Surrealist technique of “automatic writing,” in which a person would put themselves into a trance and just start moving a pen across a page.  It’s interesting what comes out, but now that I’ve experienced something like that, I have to say there’s a certain lack of “will” in the end product.  I rarely felt as if I was steering the story; mostly, I just sort of transcribed it.

And I didn’t even do all of that.  As I write this, the ending hasn’t been written for the story, though I have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to go.  (I’m not that fond of the ending, though it fits.)  I’ve officially submitted for word-count, though, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can actually keep going with it.  Usually, the final submission meant the end of fictioneering.  Maybe I can wring out the ending.

Still, even if I can’t, that’s better than nothing, I suppose.  And I’m pretty sure I would have been unhappy if I’d sat it out.  I’m just not too sure how much credit I can take this time around.

Thanks, as always, to my tireless writing buddies for their encouragement, as well as Shona and Hippie of NotebookInHand for the cheerleading.

*Odd that the NaNo website doesn’t keep any stats for previous years, at least not that I could find anywhere.  You’d think as obsessed with word-count as we are, they’d be accomodating.  (Oh, and I actually had a lower word-count last year, by about a thousand words.) 

NaNo on Tuesday the 20th.

Current Word Count:  41,000 and change.

That would be the word count I should have, as of mid-day on the 24th.  Since it’s only mid-day on the 20th, I think I will slack off a bit and try to think about what I’m actually putting on the page.  After all, I’ve got ten days to come up with a bit over 8,000 words.  That seems doable. 

So far, what I’ve written approaches automatic writing.  While the story is developing nicely, I still have absolutely no idea how it’s going to end.  The tiniest clue eludes me.

A couple of off-hand remarks show promise, but they just point to making the story form a certain kind of sense.  Now, I’m certainly not knocking that.  But I’m going to have to put some serious thought into the sentence I’m going to put right before “The End.” 

Unless it’s “Suddenly, everyone was hit by a speeding cement mixer.”

Best of luck to my fellow scribes, and thanks for coming round again.

NaNo Near the End of the Week

Current word count: 33,600 and change.

Well, I started the week about 1000 words below where I needed to be, and as I write this (close to 6PM on the 17th) I’m over three days ahead.  (33,340 would be the normal word count on the 20th day.)  Not bad for a week’s work–but going from “I dunno about this” to “Hey, this might actually work” seems like an even better gage of progress.

It’s been very, very interesting watching the creative process shift into gear.  You might recall one of my “problems” with this story is that I have no idea where it’s aiming.  Well, last night, my hero made an offhand speculation…which suddenly made perfect sense, and pointed a possible avenue to pursue.

Interestingly, the offhand bit was just that–a few words thrown in to add to the word-count.  And it’s amazing how that sort of thing can work at times. 

My first NaNo experience was a lot like that, although there I had a pretty rough idea of how the story should go from the beginning.  (Naturally, that changed completely by the time I got to the end, but it still counts, so there.) 

This is getting interesting.  (Which is not the same as getting good, of course.)

Thanks for stopping by, and good word-counts to all participants.

NaNo as of the 14th, and a bit of the 15th

Current word count:  28,800, on the nose.

That puts me a couple hundred words ahead–if this were the 17th, which it isn’t.  Since it’s actually the morning of the 15th, I feel fairly pleased by that number. 

It’s weird.  I wasn’t going to do NaNo this year, and started on the 3rd when I’d suddenly run out of other projects and, shall we say, felt the itch.  Now it’s going like gangbusters, and I still have more plot to go.  If I can keep up the pace, 50,000 words before November’s end. shouldn’t be a problem. 

“Keeping up the pace” could always surface as an issue, of course.  I’ve had a couple of major events in the story, but I’m still only partly on the way, and what might happen next is entirely in the air.  (This is, I must confess, because I still have no idea what the ultimate plan behind these events is–my “villains” have yet to appear directly.  This is actually good, believe it or not, because it fits the story so well.)

(I have come to many conclusions regarding NaNo, my participation in it, and my own creativity in general.  They are…interesting.  I’ll be sure to share once the month is over–win, lose or draw.)

Best of luck to all this year’s participants, and thank you for visiting.

NaNo Mid-Day on the 13th

Word count:  23,187

As you can see, I had quite a burst of activity yesterday, continuing somewhat today.  A couple hundred more words and I’ll be caught up as of the 14th…this being the 13th, that’s not bad at all.  “Burst” can certainly be a good thing.

Of course, “burst” can also call to mind what can happen when carrying a garbage bag that’s way too full.  Although I kid my story, there actually is a story there–events progress, characters adapt to those events, things change.  I just have absolutely no idea where the story is going.  I don’t know if my villains are even villains.  (I have no idea what they’re up to; I am just as much in the dark as my characters.) I also don’t know if my heroes are all that good, and who (or what) will live to see the end

So, this story is starting to sound interesting to me.  It may turn out to be all right after all.

Back to the grind.  See you here and there, and happy writing!

NaNo on the 11th

Current word count:  17,500 and change

That puts me a little less than 1000 words below where I should be on the 11th; with a bit of luck I can catch that up tomorrow (actually today, the 12th), maybe even gain a bit, and word-count will be one fewer worry I’ll have with this project.

Which will, of course, bring up the next worry:  making this mess into a story of some kind.  Word-count worry has kept me from the true problem–a full realization of just what it is I’m hammering out.  Which appears to be world’s most generic story.  It’s amazing how adaptable this little cuss is; since basically nothing is happening, it doesn’t matter what does.  Here goes another thousand words–heave!  Doesn’t that sound like something you can’t wait to wrap your eyes around?  Sure does! 

Ah well, I’m sure the word processors of the world will breathe a weary sigh of relief when December 1st rolls around.  So much stuff pounded out over the course of thirty days…

At least my fingers are getting a nice work-out.  You never know when that touch-typing skill will become meaningful again…

But hey, it’s fun, right?  Best of luck to my fellow writers and thanks for visiting.