NaNoWriMo 2011: Final Thoughts

So, what have I gleaned from this month? First, I missed writing. I hadn’t done anything for a while before NaNo. I finished a second draft early in the year, and since then it was just plotting. Well, some minor writing, but not much. It was fun to dive into a story again and see where it would take me.

The other main thing that I learned is that I just need to write. It’s amazing to see how quickly words add up. Heck, in just one day, you can go from being behind to being more than caught up.

The last that I’ll mention. Just write. NaNoWriMo isn’t about quality, it’s about quantity. It doesn’t matter that those 1,000 words you wrote are worthless. It matters that you wrote them. November is for creating, not editing to make it publishable. That’s what editing and rewrites are for. NaNo is about the first draft.

Ok, I lied. One more: Let the story flow. You might know where the story should go, but sometimes the most interesting and unexpected things happen when you just let your fingers fly across the keyboard and be a conduit for your creativity, instead of thinking about what you’re writing. I know that makes no sense to a lot of people, in the same way that the story and characters are alive and will do their own thing sometimes. But, when you understand the concept, it will make sense and fun things will happen in your story.

So, what am I going to do post-NaNo? I’ve got a few things that I’m working on now. I have an online character sheet for the Destiny Quest gamebook. I haven’t worked on it for a while, and I’m getting back to it. It’s quite an undertaking and will take a while. But it is a lot of fun.

I also have a Vote Your Own Adventure idea that I want to work on. I’ve got a bit written for that, but it will take more time.

My last project is why this site was created, a serial story. It’s in the plotting stages of the next rewrite.

So, at some point, I’ll find time to do all of this. And finish my NaNo novel. After all, I’m only half way done.

NaNoWriMo 2011: Days 10 – 30

This post is just going to be a quick summary of what happened writing wise for me. I’m going to do a proper summary later of how I thought NaNo went in general, and the things that I’ve learned.

As I said the last time, I ended up a bit behind. I had done pretty good, and got close to catching up. Things don’t always work that well, though. The next Write-in helped me get over 4,000 words. The next few days after that, I had a few bad days. And then the next weekend we visited some friends, and I forgot my laptop. I did manage to get some writing done on Sunday after we got back, though.

Up until the last Saturday, I was consistently around 2,000 words behind. But, I was able to keep writing and not get too much further behind. I even got to write on Thanksgiving. I just holed myself up for a bit of writing, and reemerged for a bit to hang out with family. Not the most idea, but it’s easier to do than to write near where everyone is. I’ve tried that. Too many distractions.

The Write-in on the last Saturday is what really helped me. I was able to get just over 4,900 words, which is a best for me. That caught me up with where I needed to be to finish on time. But I didn’t finish on time, I finished early!

The last Sunday and Monday were good, and I stayed on target, and got a bit further ahead. At our last Write-in on Tues, Nov 29, I manged to get a lot done, mainly fueled by two word-wars that we did. After I got home, I did some more writing, and suddenly I was finished.

I did some more writing on Wed, just to finish a chapter and get something in. I fear this story isn’t half way done, so I wanted to get something in. And leaving it in the middle of a chapter is just annoying.

That’s my rough end of NaNo post. I finished with a total of 51,339 words. I do have more with some things that I’ve learned, but I’ll leave more for my final NaNo post.

NaNoWriMo 2011: Days 2 – 9

I had hoped to do more blogging, but it takes time. Time which I could put towards writing, thus no updates for a few days. If you read nothing else, scroll down to the bottom for a great snack!

In general, I’m behind. I had a good run at the beginning, but the weekend killed me. My wife and I had something going on Fri night and Sat, so I didn’t get much in then. I ended up taking Sun off as well, which left me with 6,630 out of 10,002 that I really needed. Blah.

The last few days have been pretty good, though. I’ve gotten above the recommended daily goals with 2,200 Monday and Tuesday. Yesterday wasn’t as good, I got started late, and didn’t get a ton done before I got tired. I’m aiming to make that up today, though.

In other news, Scrivener for Windows is officially out now! If you can’t tell, I am a fan. I’ve used it since Dec of last year when they started the beta program. Go check it out here.

Lastly, a little advice. As I was writing the other day, I found that my leader of the elves character was more selfish and foolish than I had first imagined. Heck, he was just using my MC as a power play. 7 chapters into the story, and everyone but my MC knows what is going on and why he is there. I really feels sorry for him, although he is taking it in stride.

The story started to go in a direction that I hadn’t planned, and I was seeing possibilities. But, my MC still needed to know what was going on, even if the ruler was an idiot. The ruler is the one to tell him, or take him to the right person. That is sill in process. So, I had to rein things in a bit, and pull the “Author” card, and nudge them in the direction I wanted them to go. So far, it working.

So, that advice? You are the writer, they are your characters. Yes, they take on characteristics that you didn’t know about before. They change as you go, sometimes. But, you are the one who is directing them. Use those quirks that come out, and let them work for you. You, as the Author, are ultimately in control of the story. Or, if things get really out of hand. You can always clean the slate and start with a new character. My ML did that with a gas explosion that killed everyone. See? You are in control.

One last thing. You need to have a snack for NaNo, right? Here’s one I like. I don’t know where we got it, so I can’t attribute it to anyone, sorry.

Chocolate Mug Cake

  • 1 Coffee Mug
  • 4 T. plain flour
  • 4 T. sugar
  • 2 T. baking cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T. milk
  • 3 T. oil
  • 3 T. chocolate chips
  • splash of vanilla

Add dry ingredients to the mug. Mix well. Add egg, mix. Pour in mil & oil, mix. Add chocolate chips & vanilla, mix again. Microwave the mug for 3 minutes. The cake will probably rise over the top, but don’t worry about it. Allow it to cool. If you want, tip it out onto a plate and enjoy. (I usually leave it in the mug, myself.)

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

So, quick update. Day 1 down, and I have a grand total of 1,884 words.

The Office of Letters and Light should have a word count widget up soon, so I’ll add that to the site once it’s available.

Right now, NaNoWriMo might seem easy, and it is at first. It will get harder. Just keep plugging away and write. Even if it is for only 10 minutes, that time and the words you write will add up.

Oh, and tomorrow, I’m going to post a fun NaNo snack. I just made it for myself tonight.

Good luck!

NaNoWriMo 2011

NaNo 2011 Stamp

NaNoWriMo is upon us! I’m not a well-known blogger or author, so I’ll keep this brief for you.

With only a few days of planning and plotting left, I wanted to give you an idea of what to expect from me. I’m not a prolific blogger, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. I will try to post some updates as to how I’m doing, and what I’m struggling with. Might be kind of fun to do a mini NaNo journal. Most likely what you’ll see are periodic updates, maybe weekly, as to how I’m doing.

For those of you doing NaNo, Literature and Latte has a trial version of the excellent program Scrivener for NaNo up and running. If you are interested, head here and check it out:

Finally, some hints for you as well. 1,667 words a day doesn’t sound like much. There are times it takes forever, and others where it takes no time at all. When you get stuck, move on to another spot in the story. Come back to that point when you’re ready. Make sure you join up with your region, and attend some Write-Ins! This might be the most important! They are a blast, get you out in a different environment (which can help your writing) and will introduce you to new people. And last, but not least, have fun. Writing is hard work, but if it’s not fun, it’s not worth it.

Good luck to all of you. May the Words be with you!