The final week of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was difficult. I’d get back to my outline, only to go meh and deviate again. Plus once I won NaNoWriMo on the 24th — reached 50,000 words — I really, really, really wanted to finish my novel Time and Space so I could rest, see how it finally unfolded, and do some more thinking on my time machine. And I did! Here are my final posts in the final week of NaNoWriMo 2011: click the links to see the original posts on Google+ including a few comments.
NaNoWriMo claims that at the rate I’m pounding out the words, I’ll finish — that is, get to 50k words — today. Uh, no. Methinks their computer will be changing that prediction tomorrow. Make no mistake though, I had a decent writing session this morning. I’m not sure I finished the chapter where it needs to be finished, but it is for now. Perhaps in revisions I’ll see something more that needs to be added at the end. But 1688 words that came out in spits and starts and flows and stops, is satisfying.
Back to my outline today, though looks like I’ll deviate again tomorrow. I’ve made such big changes in the last few chapters, I really should update it so that when I go to revise my manuscript, I won’t get lost.
I began this morning’s NaNoWriMo session by jotting down the steps to make the time machine as a guide for today’s chapter. But in the end, I didn’t need it, for I didn’t start building the machine in today’s action. I will tomorrow. It’ll save me some time tomorrow anyway for having done that today. I haven’t done much of that — writing down “facts” I’ll need to follow while writing. I thought I would have to. But I’ve been winging it, letting my fingers show me the way. I’ll “fact” check during the revisions, but I think it’s ended up being a more enjoyable experience having done it this backwards way around. It’s not like I haven’t thought about it at great length for months, and what I’ve relearnt and thought about has certainly come out in my writing. It’s the tenuous parts and the consistency parts I’ve left up to my imagination. It’s surprising the things I’ve invented. I think they’re viable in some distant future … maybe! 🙂
2019 words today. I’m oh so close to 50k. Tomorrow for sure, I’ll finish NaNoWriMo, albeit not my novel.
(On a totally unrelated note, why oh why does Google add extra paragraph breaks [or random letters to the end of my posts] requiring me to edit my post to take them out? Once I edit, at least Google doesn’t repeat the error. But it is annoying.)
Woot! My total word count as of today is an eye-pleasing 51515. I like patterns in numbers especially since I have now passed the 50k mark to win NaNoWriMo, which today it predicted would be — today! Well, actually I don’t technically win until I submit my masterpiece (self-deprecating tone in there folks) to NaNoWriMo for them to count up each and every word. But one milestone passed. Now to finish the novel!
Today’s outline didn’t make any logical sense as to how my main character would end up in the hospital, in an isolation room. So I changed it just enough to fit in with the rest of the book and still have her end up locked up and then rescued. A lot of back and forth as I filled in previous details as I went along. And then I picked up steam in the last few paragraphs. 2393 words today as I pull away from the 50k NaNoWriMo goal. 🙂
NaNoWriMo sent a pep talk for week 4 from Brandon Sanderson a few days ago. I put off reading it because I wanted to have it for when I really needed a push. Today was that day. Although I’m enjoying the writing, having fun with my story, I want a break. I want to lie on the couch and be indolent. I want to rest and recharge properly instead of lurching from writing session to writing session. But as I have learnt, once you stop the momentum, it’s almost impossible to begin again and far more difficult than to keep going, no matter how exhausted one is. Look how long it took me to get back into revising my second novel when I stopped? Forever.
Sanderson’s pep talk was just the ticket. ToNaNo (the Toronto Chapter of National Novel Writing Month) has been posting daily pep talks. Members have signed up for each day of November. I’ve read many of those, some brilliant, some so-so, although I have to admit the really long ones I skipped because my mind would wander and get drained. But it’s the official ones that have the real kick; they’re the ones that get me going when I can’t move from the kitchen table after breakfast.
Sanderson talked about the lessons of NaNoWriMo: Learning to finish (kick #1 — just because I finished 2009 and 2010, doesn’t mean 2011 is a given for me, especially if I don’t get to the computer and write, I thought when I read this). Consistency vs. Burst writing (hmmm… I think I’m a burst writer). Thinking like a Storyteller. This part really resonated with me:
“One of the lessons I learned as a storyteller was how to refill the creative well while doing other activities. You can do it while driving, exercising, eating . . . anything that doesn’t take your full attention. During these times, many writers I know run through plots in their heads, feel out character personalities, think about conflicts. They make connections, overcoming blocks.“
I had been dreaming of my book last night; I was adding details over breakfast this morning. Was I really going to let down my imagination and not make anything of what it was creating?
And his last lesson: Overcoming Writer’s Block. This is not usually a problem for me. But his advice to just keep writing in order to keep that momentum going, to keep in the groove so that the good writing could return, hit home. Not all my writing has to be non-stop typing. It’s okay if my words come in spits and spurts or with great wrenching to get them out — so long as I stay at the computer until I’m done. (Pacing is the mantra for those with brain injuries; one must pace, we are taught. Write ten minutes, pause for three. Talk about breaking the momentum. Pacing is antithetical to writing, for me anyway. I pace, my writing flow stops. It’s better to finish the scene or chapter until I “feel” finished; I can recover after that.)
So one more chapter done. 1561 words for today. My chapters are short. 🙂
I decided to make today a marathon writing session because the last few chapters are connected. (Plus I want it to be over! I’m impatient to see how it will turn out!) Even so, I still lost track of character changes and physics details and weather stuff. Sheesh. Better go back and fix the weather while I remember and am still in a writing mood. I ache, my neck is stiff, my eyes are heavy, despite the breaks I took, the chocolate I ate, the coffee I drank, and my usual cranioelectrical stimulation regimen. But I’m ready to revise. Go figure.
Before I begin real revisions though, I need a few days to think about my time machine. Do I want it to work the way I have it working? Or does it need changing? Changing will be a pain because there are so many outflows from it. But if another method works better, I should just bite the bullet and make all the changes. First though, a few days to think on it.
8105 words today (make that 8396 after fixing weather details). It has to be some sort of record for me. I am so thankful I finished both NaNoWriMo and my novel and am a bit in disbelief at it too. When it sinks in, I’ll celebrate! With revision time!! 😛