NaNoWriMo 2020 day 30

Oh my gosh. It is so scary to live without proper internet. I’ll publish post about it tomorrow. Today, however, I did it.

I finished my first NaNoWriMo with 50.206 words. What a month November was. You know, I began writing this novel in Germany. Finished it in Latvia. It pretty much happened to be a half month there and half here.

It was not a smooth ride at all.

Look at that chart. I had no idea they had something like this. Found it out only today. But look at that. There was not a single day I wasn’t behind.

However, I walked into this challenge with an intention to finish it. No matter what. What helped me, was to set my eyes on a prize. And the prize was Scrivener with a 50% discount. They did give a 20% discount to all participants, but why settle on 20% when I can get 50%.

The real story came to me after the first week. Thus, after a week in I began to write it from the beginning. Twice actually. I had an itch to keep pushing the first story, but it went nowhere. So the first week was me playing in the mud and discovering the story.

One of the things I had to drill into my mind was that this is not a finished product. It is a first draft of many. Another thing that was hard to let go, was to write in a linear way. I see stories in my head as movies. A movie is a finished product. Hence the confusion within my mind. To be able to see a 50k word movie in my head requires quite a stretch.

I am so used to write micro fiction. It is not even a complete scene. Just a glimpse of a fleeting moment. And there are maybe 20 words or something. I just realized I don’t know how many words go into a tweet. There are only characters. Anyway, novel is not a fleeting moment.

To break out of the linear way I had to change my thinking. Interestingly it wasn’t enough to remind myself that it was only the first draft. You write it for yourself. No one needs to see it. It did began sink in in the last days. To get to that point I had to think how movies are made.

Movies are rarely filmed in a linear way. Scenes are not filmed in a sequence they were written. Not to mention that there are many scenes and shots filmed that no one ever sees. I thought about exploration of scenes from different angles and viewpoints, but I was already behind. And these explorations wouldn’t count for the overall wordcount. Or would it? Not sure, but it wouldn’t progress the story much.

I’m glad I found James Scott Bells’s Super Structure. He wrote about tentpoles. For the peace of mind I cross-referenced them with K.M. Weiland’s structure , which I’m more familiar with, and it fit within. He also mentioned about writing in a non-linear way. So I tried it. Mind can be so weird sometimes.

Also I don’t know what prompted me to set my word goal to 60k instead of 50k, but I’m glad I did it. It also kinda means that I am 10k words short. There is still one more sequence left with two or three scenes and a tail for the climax aka the final battle. That part requires a rewrite actually. So not a big deal.

60k goal actually was the one that helped me to reach 50k. I found it fascinating. Near the very end I tried to apply it to the daily word count. If I set a goal for 5k words, I wrote around half of it. The same happened for a goal of 10k words per day. I reached around 5 to 6k. Pushing to 20k words per day was a stretch, though. It pushed my word count to 7k. 7.945 was record so to say.

Putting such a goal seems ridiculous. But it worked pretty well. I’m thankful for my life situation that I was able to have space and time to write this much. Otherwise the catch up game would fail.

In that chart is a flatline. From Nov 12 to Nov 18. It is a mix of many things. Including not writing and writing but not updating the word count. I’m not gonna offer you excuses. Life happens. Even so, I was confident that I will finish it. Not finishing was not an option at all.

Back to tentpoles. I tried to write the tentpoles first. What I found that they helped to see where the story could be going. Tentpole scenes are like beacons. Showing were to go.

For my sanity I divided the plot structure with the word count. Where should midpoint begin, first plot point and so on. It helped to estimate how many words I needed to write between the tentpoles. Also not just the words but words that make sense and create progress from tentpole to tentpole. It is like a filling between biscuits.

What’s next?

I read that many people do nothing with their Nano projects. It kinda beats the purpose of why do a challenge like this in the first place.

For now I’ll let this first draft alone. For a month or so. There are only 50k words. To make it a novel I would need to expand it.

The story evolved to be interesting and enjoyable. So I want to make it publishable. That will probably take a lot of work.

I’m interested in building out the world properly. I also want to spend more time with characters. To flesh them out more.

The novel writing process itself became quite interesting. So I’m quite interested in developing it.

Most likely I’ll take it slower. More plotting, probably. We’ll see if I can make it publishable next year.