NaNoWriMo: The 50,000 Word Mark

winner 2014 - web banner
yEdit Word Count: 51, 423 words
Microsoft Word and NaNoWriMo Word Count Validator: 50, 898 words

Distractions:
-Youtube: Yeah, this should be pretty self-evident from my Tumblr page
-Tumblr: However Tumblr sort of balanced out in the end, lots of writing articles were posted up on Tumblr which were really helpful.

Credits:
I wanted to thank Tumblr for all the helpful articles posted up and to all the people that supported me, such as Kim (Kim is an amazing cheer squad person and always helps me keep things in perspective), my sister for pretty much always being on my case every time I saw her (“When are you finishing your Robot story?!” were sometimes the first words out of her mouth whenever we caught up) and my partner for also being on my case but for a different reason, you made sure to remind me of self-care and made sure to drag me to bed at 12am regardless of how many words I’d written that day <3.

Planner VS Pantser:
I am an Outliner type of Writer, this NaNoWriMo has confirmed that, I would have been seriously lost and then panicked and freaked out without my outline thingy. Although I didn’t actually get around to outlining the last two chapters (I pretty much said “Fuck it! Let’s just see what happens! It’s November 1st tomorrow, hopefully I’ll have the last two chapters figured out by the end of the month.” though I do have a vague idea of how and what I want to happen). However, I should have had my outline printed and bound, even though it wasn’t finished and was only 32 pages long. I think having my outline physically there beside me would have been easier than cross checking with it on my laptop (I had my outline and my writing document open all the time, but I stopped checking as regularly as I should). I think I need to do some revisions to the Novel Outline Template Experiment (It’s NOTE, get it? Come on it’s funny :D).

Successes VS Failure:
I think those terms are very extreme boxes, even though once I had validated my novel word count I did think of myself as a failure (I know that sounds illogical but stay with me on this), my thinking was that I had only reached the 50,000 word mark, the fact that my novel lacked a a solid beginning, middle and end meant that I hadn’t finished my novel and had therefore failed. For example, I’m currently up to Chapter 22 of my novel, but by my outline, I should be way further along the writing journey than I currently am.

Chapter 22 NOTE: The Darkest Hour, Midway Point of Act 3
Chapter 22 Reality: Crossing The 1st Threshold. Beginning of Act 2

And it’s not like I did my usual thing, which is to get distracted by completely irrelevant side journeys and secondary character problems. When I realised I had forgotten to write a scene, or that there should be a bridging scene between these two scenes, or there needed to be more character development between these two characters, I simply opened up a note in Evernote and labeled it “Missing Scenes” and wrote down a basic summary, that way I wouldn’t slow up my momentum and I would keep on track. So yeah, sure I got to 50,898 words in 25 days, but I was rushing the process. I was only writing the basic word count amout of 1700 instead of the 3000 like I was supposed to do, and I’m only just getting into the second act of my hero’s journey? Fuck, I am a Slow Writer
Typewriter-throwing
And to make matters worse, I realised that the book I’m currently writing, Metamorphosis: The House of Lilies, isn’t book one in my Metamophosis series, it’s fucking book two. BOOK TWO!

For example:
01. Metamorphosis: Deus Ex Machina (Main Characters are DEM and Tyrannous)
02. Metamorphosis: The House of Lilies (Main Characters are DEM and Liliana)

See that? There’s another Oedipus book I have to write before I publish the one I’m currently working on and I haven’t even finished the one I’m working on. These books are WAY BIGGER than I wanted them to be. I just wanted the first book to be a darkly-humorous jaunt through space with a couple of feminism anvils being dropped, but now it’s fucking Space Opera Saga. I mean, sure I figured complex issues like colonialism and classism (and I’m sure lots of other stuff that ends in ism) shouldn’t be glossed over and crammed into one book but it’s damn frustrating to know just how far I have yet to go, this is going to take me years to write.
Hades
I wanted to have a completed 3 act structure manuscript by the end of the month (not necessarily good, I knew it wouldn’t be good, just done) and I haven’t accomplished that. So, to me, while I can argue and prove I’m not a failure, I don’t really think of myself as a success.

However, on the flip-side, I managed to write 50,000 words in roughly a month, and I only skipped two days of the month, I’m actually proud of that aspect. I was honestly worried I wasn’t going to make it in time as I often struggled with writing on days that I work, mostly because my shift-hours are irregular (my shift hours are always different on a week to week basis) and they are often right in the middle of the afternoon (I rarely get morning shifts) and it messes up my writing flow and it’s harder to get back into once I started. I found it easier to wait until I’d finished work then start writing, may be do some outlining during the morning/afternoon so that when I sat down at the keyboard after work, I knew what to do. I was much better organised this year, last year my writing was like all over the place, and although I tried to watch the virtual write-ins, the time difference and delays caused a lot of problems.

Although I didn’t leave the house and go to any of my suggested writing locations and there were a few days where I just through myself down at the keyboard in my pjs and thought “Fuck it, I’ll shower later”, I think I did stretch myself as a writer, I think I’ve improved in a my craft (only a little bit though). And maybe it’s different for other people, maybe it’s no big deal to have a finished manuscript in 30 days, but it’s not that way for me and I guess I just have to accept that. It seems like my writing ability is like a muscle, I have to exercise it regularly and all this is kind of pointless if I’m only working on a fiction novel 30 days of the year. However, I have some other projects I need to work on, so while I’ll keep working on this project, I probably won’t go back to fixing it until January, one of the side effects of having a divorced family and working in retail is that December is a big month for me.

I’m not giving up, I’m going to finish Metamorphosis eventually, I am just recognizing the fact that my writing process is slower than I’d like it to be and that it’s going to take me longer to finish things as a result.

2 comments

  1. I’ll say congratulations before I start laughing at the notion that a book won’t take years to write … nope, I failed at that. Excuse me while I laugh and laugh and laugh…

    maybe it’s no big deal to have a finished manuscript in 30 days

    I think there’s an industry based on the assumption that’s true when it more often, if not most often, isn’t.

    If you don’t need to rewrite a draft from scratch three times (as in I rewrote my novel entirely three times) because you plan, you may not be all that slow. It’s just a difference in approach. I can hammer the words out, sure, with nothing more than a light sketch of a plan, but I use a lot more words to get anywhere. A 140 000 word novel can take me anywhere between 300 000 – 500 000 words to write. If you don’t have to take a draft or two to know what it is you’re even writing, are you slower than me?

    Just saying that there are plenty of people who begin NaNo, get their 50 000 words and don’t finish a novel. I’d say more people do this than finish a complete novel. In terms of a novel’s length, especially in spec fic, 50 000 words isn’t actually a massive amount. It’s barely a novel. I don’t mean to say it’s not a lot of writing. It is. But for the genres we write, that’s not a complete novel. So how can you have a finished novel when 50 000 words in a month alone is already a pretty tremendous effort? How is writing much more than that realistic, unless you don’t need a job and someone else does the house cleaning?

    I’m saying that ‘finished manuscript’ for those of us who don’t write YA or category romance is nowhere near 50 000 words. For those of us who write Big Fat Fantasy/SF novels … well, three months is a much fairer period of time. And I’d give yourself four because burn-out. Or five. Or six, even.

    What are you doing to celebrate?

    • Those are valid points, especially since I found this post “Some Words About Word Counts” on It’s a Writer Thing, they offer a word count estimate for genres with general science fiction at 100,000 – 115,000, so yeah, I’ve got a while to go. I do get what you mean, from a Writer’s P.O.V, 50,000 words isn’t that much, it is an accomplishment, but it’s more of a halfway mark than a finish line. As for celebratory stuff, not quite certain, though I do want to do something.

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