Tuesday, 26 November 2013

The Ghost of NaNoWriMo Present

At the end of my first five NaNoWriMo’s I felt that even though I had achieved a lot in terms of wordcount, I felt like I was capable of doing even more. And so, every year, I would aim to write more than I had written in the previous year.

However, last year, when I had managed to write 200k in 30 days, I no longer felt that I could better that. I felt like I had reached my limit. I felt that 200k was the maximum number of words that I would be capable of writing in a month.

But I still had every intention of carrying on with NaNoWriMo, and still wanted to go for a big wordcount.

I decided to aim for 150k this year. But, in terms of wordcount, this year isn’t very interesting. It’s next year that I’m most looking forward to.

The cumulative wordcount for my first six Nano novels is 704,291 words. If I manage to reach this year’s target of 150,000 words, then my cumulative target will exceed 850k words. And so, my ability to write 150k words during NaNoWriMo makes next year very interesting...

But that’s getting ahead of myself. I still have this year to get through first. I had originally wanted to see just how fast I could get to the official 50k winning post. Last year I had managed it in just 6 days. This year I wanted to see if I could do it in just 4.

Part of my preparations for NaNoWriMo this year involved working long hours during October, so that (after having two weeks off at the start of November) when I came back to work I could work short hours for the rest of the month. However, the downside of this is that I entered November feeling very, very tired. I was working on 1st November, and so I “only” wrote 5k on that day. The original plan was to write 15k a day for the next 3 days – the most that I had ever written in a day was 12k.

This would have involved me getting up really early on those 3 days, and writing flat out. But I was already feeling exhausted on Friday night. And so I decided to abandon that plan.

But I still intended to go for 150k words overall. I was just going to get there by doing 5k days. (Although, when I announced this on Facebook one of my friends said that she loved the way that I casually said “just 5k days”...)

And, for the most part, I have stuck to 5k days. There have been a few wobbles here and there, but it’s all been going well. During my time off I spent most of my day watching TV and my Doctor Who Blu-Ray discs (wanting to get through them all in time for “The Day of the Doctor”), and so I did most of my writing at write-ins in the evenings.

When I went back to work last week after my time off I was still doing most of my writing at write-ins, and still keeping up my 5k days. But I still had some more Doctor Who to watch, and so I was staying up very late at night. On some nights I was getting as little as four hours sleep, and I was feeling it.

I got to 50k on day 10, and 100k on day 20, and so I’m on course to reach 150k on day 30. As things stand, at the end of day 25 I’m currently on 127,003 words...

As for the novel itself, this is my seventh NaNoWriMo novel, and it’s called “The Seventh Cycle”. It’s a sci-fi/fantasy adventure novel which sees a group of characters being whisked away from their world in search of the mythical planet called Earth, but things don’t go according to plan, as they have to face up to numerous terrifying situations...

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to be doing once this novel is finished. I certainly won’t be letting anybody read it, at least not right away. I have been waffling a lot during it, and so it wouldn’t read very well in its current state. Plus there are all sorts of things that I’d like to change before letting others read it...

It may well be that I decide never to do any rewrites on this one, and not allow anyone else to read it. And I don’t see that as a bad thing. I wouldn’t consider my efforts this year to be wasted. I for one have enjoyed writing this novel, and having it revealed to me as I go along. And, whilst there are a lot of bad bits in the novel, there are also some very good ideas. I wouldn’t have had these ideas if I hadn’t gone through the process of writing this novel, and so I can take these ideas and use them in something else at a later date if I choose to. So, if nothing else, this year’s novel has proven to be a good writing exercise for me.

But first I have to carry on and finish this novel. I still have 23k words to go, and quite a few plot points to tie up – not least the fact that my characters haven’t made it to Earth yet...

(As with previous years, I’m also raising money for St. Luke’s Hospice [Harrow and Brent]. If you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at www.justgiving.com/KarlSGreen2013)

Next Week: The Ghost of NaNoWriMo Yet to Come...

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