Belated NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up

The past week flew by and I somehow missed the end of the month. I was so motivated, I kept writing during Thanksgiving break. I really wasn’t expecting that and had planned on just taking the time off. It turned out that I really didn’t want to. While there was a lot of family to catch up with, there were some quiet times too, so I just kept my laptop close and wrote a chapter or so a day.

I was on track to hit 75K by midnight on the 30th, but on that very day, I found out that my brother had HBO and that I could watch Season 4 of Game of Thrones. I wrote a bit that day, but started watching TV around 3 PM and didn’t finish until around 3 am, including a few breaks. My head was spinning, but at least now I don’t have to wait until February/March. (Though I’ll still be anxious to have the DVDs.)

My final count for NaNoWriMo was just over 72K, which is still pretty respectable. Even better, I show no signs of slowing down. I don’t know if I’ll finish a first draft of Book 2 this month, but I think I’ll come close. I just passed the 1/4 mark (or so) tonight, so I’m very nearly on track. The middle is going to be very loooong and complicated, so I’m hoping I don’t get bogged down there. So far, I’m having a lot more fun with this one. Maybe it’s because it’s the second in a series so I can plunge right into the story without spending a lot of time introducing characters, establishing the setting, and so on. Or maybe it’s because I’m actually getting better at writing a novel. I sure learned a lot through trial and error on the first one. In any event, I feel like this book is going to be great and very exciting.

NaNoWriMo Update: 50,000 . . . and Beyond!

Inanowrimo‘m still on a roll! And I even got sick in between. I missed two days of writing due to flu-like crud that I always seem to get in November, but once I recovered, I was back at it. My word count after the chapter I wrote tonight is 50,553 and I have nine chapters left to write. These are the most fun, since I’ve been mulling these over since I first conceived this plot at the beginning of the year. I feel like all of the crap I went through to get to these scenes is worth it now, because they’re such a joy to write. One of them is a love scene, which makes me nervous, but I’m sure I’ll get through it without traumatizing my characters too much. I might need therapy afterwards, though.

So, even if I write at the measly pace of one chapter a day, I should still finish right around Thanksgiving. I’ll probably make sure I do, just for my peace of mind. Then, my plan is to put this monster away for a few weeks- maybe until the first of the year. During that time, I’ll see if I can get Book Two started. I’m already outlining it and it’s going to be a monster, too. I can already see I will need to add at least two new POV characters to my existing four- possibly even a third.

So, barring any major disasters, I should be on the home stretch a week from now. I’m seeing some impressive numbers from others on WordPress and on Twitter. How is your month going?

NaNoWriMo Check-in

nanowrimoI think I was going to do this weekly, but ten days have already gone by. It’s been going well! I just passed 34K and hit the 75 percent point in my book. I have never made it that far before. I’ve written some of the later scenes out of order, but some of that was simply avoiding scenes that were uncomfortable for me to write. By forcing myself to do it in linear progression until I am done, I got through the hard parts, which surprisingly, is making the rest easier, so far.

I had a few slow days last week when I wrote less than 2,000 words. We were in a hotel while the truck was in the shop and I thought I’d have all kinds of time to write. I did, but I also had distractions, like restless cats, Animal Planet, and a gazillion loads of laundry to do. Now that I’m back in the truck, things are going much more smoothly.

Right now I feel very energized and told hubby: “I will finish this in a week!” That might be a bit optimistic, but I think it might be possible to finish in 2 weeks, or at least by Thanksgiving. I know my final word count will be over 50K, I just don’t know by how much. I’ve made an effort to plan my scenes more carefully right before writing them, and most of them end up shorter than is normal for me. I think that’s because I need fewer words to get going. Because I have a plan, I dive right in.

I’ll update again within a week and we’ll see if the roll I’m on continues.

It’s Almost Time for the October Writing Challenge!

typewriter-1386501-mWhere did September go? Though it went by quickly, it was still a productive month, and much of that was thanks to the monthly writing challenge. It was my second month participating, and I got a lot done. I also noticed a lot of my fellow participants logging big word counts, finishing drafts, and finishing editing passes. It turns out, if you write or edit every day, you get books written! Who knew? And having a supportive group to be accountable to is incredibly motivating.

This is how it works. Announce your participation on Twitter using the #OctWritingChallenge hashtag. Write at least 500 words, or edit for at least an hour daily. Then, log what you did in the participant log, and tweet your accomplishment using the hashtag. That’s it! It’s also nice if you check in with the hashtag every day to provide favorites, retweets and encouragement to your fellow writers. You can get all the info you need at the Writing Challenge website.

So, how were my September numbers? My month turned out differently than I had planned. Midway, I decided I needed to cut my book in half and started investigating how to do that. I was staring down a minimum of 800 pages while I had a perfectly reasonable place to end it near the middle. Since the challenge gives you credit for outlining and editing, I could count all of that time, which was considerable. By the end of the day today, I should be over my 30,000 word goal and pretty well done with a second draft of the first book in my series. I won’t give myself credit for done-done, because I still have to fill in a chapter or two, but it’s pretty darn close.

I’ll spend the first half of October editing book one and filling in those gaps. Then, I’ll switch gears and start doing research and outlining for book two. I don’t like to stop before having the first book pretty polished, but I’d like to take advantage of NaNoWriMo to knock out a first draft for the next one. 50K words won’t complete it, but I should be able to cover at least one storyline. Yes, I know. Too many characters and subplots, as per usual. And after spending so much time editing recently, I’m looking forward to just writing again!

Camp Update

Hey, it’s already been a week since Camp NaNoWriMo started. I’ve surprised everyone, including myself, by religiously writing 3000 words a day, no matter what. So far, the main challenge has been getting started. Once I do, it’s been going very easily. One time, the getting started part was so difficult, I didn’t manage it until 3 a.m., but I figure that anything I get done before sunrise counts.

campSo, as of this morning, I’ve written 21,185 words, and am on the verge of finishing Chapter 12. One thing that’s helped me a lot is #NaNoWordsprints on Twitter. I was so proud of myself for managing 1200 words in 30 minutes, until I saw that several others had done more. That triggered my competitive nature, so I wrote even faster. Yesterday, 3000 words happened in exactly 66 minutes.

How’s the quality? I’m sure you’re wondering. Well, it varies. But it seems that, even when I write slowly, my first draft is going to be crap. No matter how carefully I choose each word, I will want to choose different words later. So, I might as well get the first round done fast, right?

And since I absolutely love editing, it’s all good. In fact, my “treat” for getting my 3000 words done is that I get to edit previous chapters for as long as I’d like. I should probably see a therapist about living dangerously.

So far, I have nearly 65,000 words in my twelve chapters. But, if I edit aggressively, -and I do- I’ll probably cut at least 1000 words per chapter. No adverb is safe! *eyes aggressively above threateningly*

When all is said and done, I will still provide hours and hours for your reading pleasure.

I’m Going to Summer Camp!

campCamp NaNoWriMo, that is. NaNoWriMo is sponsoring a camp to help you write anything your heart desires during the month of July. My goal is to write 90,000 words, 3,000 words a day. I’ve been doing 2,000 most days and having a blast, so hopefully kicking it up a notch won’t kill me. I’m even in a cabin, with cabin-mates!

You can check out my novel here, and even read an excerpt from the prologue, an unplanned sneak-peek that surprised even me! Can’t say I’m ready to expose this to the world, but it’s gotta happen sometime.

As some of you probably know, I first started this whole project  for last NaNoWriMo. While I wrote over 53,000 words, it didn’t really work out well. I hadn’t planned much of a story- I figured I’d more or less follow historical events using my imaginary characters. It turned out to be boring, unwieldy and very far from complete.

So, I started from scratch, worked on setting up a real structure, doing a lot more research, world-building ,and creating really detailed character profiles. I currently  have eight chapters and a prologue written, mostly unedited and highly variable in quality.  I have another six chapters planned out in detail and another six sketched out roughly.

I already have some 35,000 words down, but this thing is going to be massive, apparently. It seems I have long-winded characters who are dealing with complex situations. Even the more taciturn sorts fight complicated battles with a lot of different weapons. So yes, words. Many, many words.

Oh wait . . . I’m not done!

So, by the end of NaNoWriMo, I thought I was more or less at the end of my novel. Since it’s the first in a series, I wasn’t entirely clear as to where the end should be, exactly. Then, my husband had the brilliant idea that I should just keep writing. After all, I’ve been keeping character trajectories in mind from the beginning, so sending them straight into book two should be pretty easy.

I loved this idea, because I’m just not ready to stop writing and to get started on the editing process. First though, I needed to work out my plot and characters. As I did that, I realized that I’d overlooked someone cool- Christian of Brunswick. My first thought had been to start his story in book two, but then I’d have to kill him off midway to open things up for Christian of Denmark. Could there possibly be any more Christians? Why yes, there can be! We’ve already got Christian of Anhalt in the mix.

Since this is all speculative anyway, I figure he’ll be an interesting character to work into Book one, especially since a couple of my male characters had fallen flat. But don’t tell anyone- I’ll revive them!

Initially, I thought I’d go for another 50K in December. Sure, I won’t have a lot of time, but I managed it in November in about 14 days total, so if I can write every other day, I could make it. Now I’m not so sure. I think my first priority should be to figure out this guy and plot his trajectory out to the end. That gives me a chance to spin out some of my other characters and get them into a better position for book two. Clear as mud? Yeah. This book is gonna be long!

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m wasting my time, trying to turn this into fantasy. I’m so averse to coming up with my own plot, that i’m sticking to the historical events very closely. It might actually be harder to create a fake alternate world than it is to just write straight-up historical fiction. Well, I guess I don’t have to make a decision now. I’ll carry on as I am, and maybe I’ll find a use for magic and dragons in there somewhere.

I did it! (a few days ago)

This is actually kind of old news, but my fingers couldn’t type anymore and then Thanksgiving (and Catching Fire) got in the way.

I got to 50K around 11 am on the 26th!

It was kind of insane. I started around 2 am with @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter, and just kept plugging away until I was done some 9 hours later. It was something like 13,000 words in one sitting. I really enjoyed it! I learned I can easily write 2500 words in an hour, and totally fake my way through complicated battle scenes. So gross and gory! So much fun!

My husband had given me one of those gigantic Reese’s cups and I had lots of coffee, so that combination powered me through.

The thing is, ugh, I’m not done! Well, we already knew that. But, I mean, I didn’t even do my outline thing to the end. So, I have tonight and tomorrow to do that. I don’t know how many more words it will take, but I still have several characters I need to, er, dispose of.

I’m not entirely sure where to end it, since all surviving characters will more or less advance to the next book. I guess that’s something I can figure out later, if I have to.  So, it’s back to the grindstone for the next day or so, after which I will have to pick up the dangling threads of my real life again.

I plan to keep working on this, though. Other people can write more than one book at a time, so why can’t I? I’m just slightly lazier than the average over-achiever, so I should be fine.

Getting close!

Somewhere in the neighborhood of 42K. I’m shooting for 6800 words today/night/morning and probably another block of the same later today. I’ve been using #NaNoWordsprints on Twitter to help me along. Turns out I can easily knock out 1200 words in 30 minutes!

I was beginning to despair that my story was kind of boring. Not in these last few chapters! All kinds of murder, mayhem- even rumors of an impalement! Next up: the Big Battle and its aftermath.

In the end, this will amount to a very detailed outline. So far, I’m adhering very closely to actual history, which I didn’t actually want to do. So, once I’ve figured out this whole plot, I’ll spend the next few months letting my imagination run wild.

Back to work!

Still alive, and writing desperately

So, the  moment I finished my 8k on NaNoThon day, I fell into bed, feeling like utter crap. It just got worse for the next five days or so, and then I very slooooowwwwly started to get better. After a good ten days, I was up for writing again.  What horrible timing, though!

Here I am, on the 21st, and I’m just shy of the 25K mark. Of course, 75K is out of the question (unless I suddenly develop a meth habit), but I think 50K is still within reach. Another complication is that I really want to be done before Thanksgiving, because I just don’t see how I’m going to work in a family visit with obsessive writing.

I can do this, if I write about 4K daily. I did it yesterday without too much trouble. Now of course, hubby is down with said flu, but he’s pretty low-maintenance, so I’ll shovel chicken soup with one hand and type with the other.