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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Looks like I made it!

nano_07_winner_largeLast night, around 10:00 p.m., I looked down at my word count, and there I  was, at 50,857 words. I'd slipped over the threshold without even noticing.  I was in the middle of a scene, a scene that was rolling despite the fact that I didn't know its outcome. It was one of those pure, creative moments.

I knew that my November was going to be a trying going into this, so this time, I did the unthinkable. I created an outline. No, not a fully-fleshed outline, but an outline full of single sentence ideas. Like this:

Chapter 1: A vampire is killed and his spirit captured in an amulet.

Not much to go on, I realized, as I set down to write, but enough. And I was able to plow through my 50,000 words fairly handily. My skeletal outline served to keep me on track, and keep me from staring at the blank screen and wasting time I didn't have. Which was a life saver, because the first two weeks were murder for me, and I think I only  wrote like three times during that period. So I entered the halfway point with only about 20% done. I was sunk, I thought. And as the days went on, and I found myself with other issues to deal with, I was planning to finish my 50K mid December. I wouldn't be a "winner", but I'd be one in my mind.

Or so I thought. Funny thing happened though -- with 7 days to go, and a need to crank out 5,000 words a day to meet that goal, I managed it. And I realized something. It is possible to crank out a novel -- not a sensational novel, but a decent novel -- in three to four months if you have to.  A revelation, as it take me sooo much longer. I'm a no-outline guy, big time, so when I get to the end of a work, some interesting stuff has been unearthed during the writing and ideas and concepts I hadn't considered seemed to have developed on their own -- pulled directly from the subconscious. But since these bits and ideas weren't planned or consistently used throughout, editing is a very time consuming and challenging task. Daunting, even. So this year's nano was a good experience on so many levels.

Most important of all -- writing begets writing. I'm off to a cafe to do a little writing before going to the NanoWriMo "Thank God It's Over" party!

3 comments:

Kate S said...

Congratulations! :)

I did just as I did last year - only a little over 25K. I think I'm just a 25K a month kinda gal. :P

Now go enjoy your party - you deserve it.

Clifford said...

Thanks Kate!

25k is nothing to sneeze at. Chris Baty said at the party that over 100,000 people took the challenge this year with about 16,000 completing it. I think it takes a certain type of fatalism, possibly an unhealthy fatalism, to do this. Consider yourself healthy (:

Charles Gramlich said...

Congrats. Well done, my friend. I wish they'd do this in a different month than November, which is the worst month for me for school work. Maybe I'll try something similar myself in summer.

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.