Dec 4th Well, here I am with my NaNoWriMo winner’s certificate! I started out on November 1st with a rough idea for a story, but I hadn’t done the outline or decided on character names or anything. When they said, ‘Write an entire novel in a month”, I took it rather too literally and hadn’t prepared anything! Along the way I discovered I needed an outline. All I had was a beginning idea and an ending. I had no middle. The middle is the entire story – what was I thinking?! But I read a very important coaching tip and decided to just keep that front and centre as I plodded on; Just Write. I tried to ignore the editor in me who sounded a lot like my English grammar school teacher, and I wrote, and wrote, and wrote… The final day I was so tired, but as I neared the finish line I was super excited to see the prize so close. I watched the word count click 49, 999 – 50,000. I felt like I’d run a marathon, but I stayed awake long enough to print out my certificate. It’s a great feeling, to reach the finish line in whatever you set out to accomplish, whether it’s a novel or a new recipe for chocolate brownies.
When I got to the middle part of the novel I just kept going. I started researching names at first, for my main characters, but the rest of them in the middle got the first name that came to mind – just write! Some of them will need to have a name change as I revise, or I’ll find myself in trouble with the first name of an antagonist being someone I know! It’s funny how that works. As they say, “Don’t tick me off. I’m a writer and you may end up in my next novel – and I may just kill you”. The plot unfolded all on its own and my characters became real. For my first try at fiction, I am actually proud of my attempt. It will have to wait for now, though.
The novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo is one of a series of novels I’ll be publishing starting in Spring 2016. Before this book is published, I hope to have two more short non-fiction works published and a fantasy. So maybe, if God has this in His plan as I see it in mine; I’ll have this novel published just in time for the next NaNoWriMo.
Thank you to all who supported me through this endeavor, especially my family who ate goodness-knows-what some nights, lots of fast ‘food’, had to put up with dirty dishes in the sink all month, and me endlessly talking about NaNo. You’re all the bestests!
Signing off on my NaNoWriMo posts till next year. God Bless,
I made it! I wrote 50,000 words in thirty days and validated my novel at 5pm. I am officially pooped and I’m going to make a cup of orange tea, and pet my cat – and also watch The Walking Dead again because I don’t remember half of what happened last night I was so exhausted!
I will give you the run-down on my last day tomorrow. Thank you all for the words of encouragement here and on Facebook and Twitter.
Day 23 How do you organize your outline? I asked a few colleagues that question and received several different responses from them all. I didn’t organize my outline before I started writing (Pantser) and that slowed my writing quite a bit. As I mentioned earlier, I had to go back over some segments to cut and paste so I could keep track of who was where and doing what. So the suggestions I received were very helpful in trying to help me do just that. Sticky notes seems to be the favourite, with spreadsheet close behind. But my favourite, and the one I’m now using, is to list my chapters in order with titles before I start writing. This tip was given to me by my NaNoWriMo writing buddy. Thanks, Melanie! I admit I’m a little late doing this, but since I gave my chapters headings, I’ve been able to stay on track with my story. I also wrote out my characters’ names and pertinent information on file cards and stuck them on the office bulletin board. If you haven’t started your novel yet, I’d like to suggest you at least put your outline somewhere handy where it’s easily accessible. I wasted a lot of time rummaging through my manuscript to find out where my supportive characters live! Do you have a tried and true method to organizing your writing?
Day 24 I just finished writing my final battle scene – phew! I’m exhausted and I didn’t lift a single sword. I basically wrote about fighting ALL day. I fed the cat, made a conference call to one of my pastors, fed the birds, talked to my son for a bit then wrote about blood and guts the rest of the day (and into part of dinner time). Once my husband went to bed I took up the final battle scene once more (my writing that is) to get it finished. Total word count to date: 35,816. That means if I still take Sunday off, and I have to take Friday off to go out of town with my daughter all day and do a virtual book launch in the evening, I’ll need to write at least 3,500 words each day including the final day on Monday! I know from recent experience I need 7-8 hours of sleep to work at peak performance. Trust me – your brain won’t work well if it doesn’t get enough sleep and people will think you’re a zombie – not good. Tomorrow is the part referred to as The Payoff part of the novel. A nice change from today. Sleep well and long.
Day 22 Today I thought I’d share with you a small excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel. Please keep in mind it’s a hurried first rough draft and will probably be edited to shreds later.
“Cassy searched the small gathering for her mother. Stepping sheepishly across the marble floor she heard her mother laughing loudly from the vicinity of the stone fireplace. Her mother had a haughty laugh which could be heard all over the downstairs rooms when she was entertaining guests. Mother loved to entertain and the wealthiest people vied for invitations to her dinner parties. Cassy made her way through the crowd who didn’t seem to notice her torn clothing – or her presence for that matter. They were busy flaunting their designer gowns and silk suits, and waving their hands so everyone would notice their newly acquired gold trinkets. Everyone appeared to be called Darling.”
This is from a scene from Act 1 of a superhero story. Until now I’ve only written non-fiction, so I’m very excited to see how the story ends! Word count to date: 31,043. Pleasant dreams everyone.
Day 14 Today was a writing/gardening day. I was supposed to have my gardens all finished so I would only need to help with the raking of leaves in November. Well, that didn’t happen. So today my son helped me with tidying the garden shed and I put away most of the toys. Then we started on the leaves. We still need to upturn some pots so they don’t crack in the winter, but Monday will be a good day for finishing that and doing some more raking because we’re expecting a high of 13! I probably won’t catch up with my word count until Tuesday. I think I’m about 5,000 words behind at present. Ughhh. I am enjoying the experience, though. I’ve learned a lot about plotting (not my forte as a Pantser) and flow. There’s a great deal of figuring out to do to make scenes flow. I have a greater respect for fiction writers now I’m aspiring to be one. It is not easy. NaNoWriMo is an amazing place to test and hone your writing skills. I’m so glad I decided to do this. I think next year I’ll start by purchasing a few stacks of sticky notes and posting them all over my office wall so I can rearrange them when I realize the protagonist shouldn’t be revealing her super powers till the next scene. Two weeks to go – will I make it? Yes, I will! (Well now I have to, don’t I?)
Have a good sleep everyone. I’ll be away from writing tomorrow so I can go to church and visit my daughter and her family (not necessarily my son-in-law, he’ll be glued to the football game).