“I want to smash my all-time Nano high word count of 160,605 from 2009. Can I do it?”
The verdict for 2011 “National Novel Writing Month“?
The 2009 record has been broken!
Bad news: it was broken by more of a whimper than a smash. 😛
For the first part of the month the writing was going great, despite some problems with the outlines. I hit 50,000 words in a personal best of 6 days. Yay!
Then November 17th hit. Ow, what a hard wall, and there were walls everywhere I turned. The momentum was never the same after that.
It was more than simple momentum. I also realized that the outlines had problems. Many nights I would have to stop to re-outline a problem area. This wasn’t just on one outline, it was on all of them.
This Nano became more than a simple word count challenge. It became a Nano for learning. Before I get to that, here are the final totals:
Total 2011 NaNoWriMo Word Count: 180,415
A Turn of the Pipes (A Redpoint One Story)
Secret Illusions (Salmon Run)
Spectre of the White Death (Salmon Run)
Aurora Equinox (Salmon Run)
Breakup – Alaska Style (Salmon Run)
The Great Salmon Run Cake Fiasco (Salmon Run Short Story)
From Alexandria to Andromeda (Short Story)
Vaulted Career (Short Story)
The Doppleganger Accountant (Short Story)
Wolf Dance (Short Story)
(Note that Taskforce Zero is not on the above list. Why is explained below.)
A piece of good news is that all the projects started in November were finished in November. I didn’t have to carry any project into December.
The bad news is that the outlines weren’t as good as usual going into November and the writing pace really suffered for it. A series of Nano planning Workshops in late September and all through October probably didn’t help with the outline situation, as I was focused on helping other people. To top it off, I released a new short story in October (Flying Dutchman of the Spacelanes) and then finished the copyedits for “The Phoenix Eggs” so that it could be published in November.
This meant that the time spent on the outlines was not what it should have been. There were whole scenes and sections either thrown out or replotted on every single one of the five longer works written during November.
When I realized that the outlines were a mess, I made the decision to drop the Taskforce Zero books off the writing list. I want to take my time and go through those outlines again to make sure they are as strong as they need to be. The four books I have outlined will be the start of a series, and I want them to be as strong as possible.
Because Taskforce Zero was dropped off the writing schedule, I needed something else to write for the remaining days of Nano. I switched to short stories and made it a goal to write one new one every single day.
I do not view the problems as something to be depressed about (although I found it depressing when the realization first socked me in the middle of the forehead). Instead, I view this as a learning opportunity:
- I can hit 50k in less than a week if I’m really concentrating.
- I now know I can write one short story a day. I’d never done that before, so this was a great thing to find out.
- I need to take more time for myself pre-nano to make sure my own outlines are ready to go. I waited too far into the summer to start. Next year I start earlier!
- 200k is doable if I have good outlines, as I came really close this year. Now I just need to do the needed pre-prep and get to it! (watch out 2012 Nano!)
- I’ve come to really enjoy writing several books in one series all in one month. It helps on so many levels: keeping true to the characters, to the world, to the plot, carrying through small details and plot hooks. In fact, I get so immersed that it’s hard to bring myself out of a particular series, which is why the first short story was a Salmon Run story.
- Having fellow writers to commiserate with and to RAH you on is the greatest advantage any participant in a writing challenge can have. So, thank you to everyone at Forward Motion Chat for all your help, positive words, word wars, 100-word jumps, and simple support. It meant a great deal and got me through the worst of November.
In summary, November could have gone better on the writing front, but it also could have gone much worse considering the state of the outlines. I view it as successful because of the things I learned. They will help me become a stronger writer in the future.
Learning is always a good thing.
Before I forget, here is the November release I spoke about:
The Phoenix Eggs (The String Weavers – Book 2)
Growing up has never been easy, but most girls don’t have the added complication of having thought she was human only a couple weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Kelsey Hale struggles to find a place for herself among a group of String Weavers assigned the duty of stopping a madman bent on obtaining as many Phoenix Eggs as he can. What he wants with them, no one knows, but considering the raw power contained within it can’t be good. As if that weren’t enough, there’s no time for her training, resulting in a horrific event that jeopardizes her whole team.
Oh, to be only a typical teenager dealing with high school.
So much for that!
A 96200 word, 384 page (approximate), science fiction novel by J.A. Marlow.
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