November & NaNoWriMo | 2019

Hellooo there. Lovely day isn’t it?

Well, I’m back.

After being gone for a month, it’s strange returning, but let me start with my two main pieces of great news:

  1. I am alive.
  2. I wrote 50k words for NaNoWriMo with two hours to spare.

Yep.

That’s right. I survived NaNoWriMo without any prep beyond a list of things to include in the story (which the characters took the liberty of editing when I was off drowning in mashed potatoes and gravy, but we’ll return to that later)

Yes… no prep. Result?

The story smells like week-old cans smashed in a plastic bag and living in a bin outside and away from the house.

In other words: it is trash.

The plot is terrible, the world 2D, and the characters are all cardboard, and it’s not just because it’s a NaNoWriMo project.

I mean this is actually bad even for nano.

And that’s saying something.

Out of the 50k worth of events, only two – maybe five – things that have happened made me feel a little satisfied. And the story isn’t even finished. Meaning, it ended on a cliffhanger, but to be perfectly honest I had no idea what was coming next.

It was actually interesting how less stressful it was this year as compared to last one, when I was more invested and had plotted most of it before November even started.

Last year, every moment was about NaNoWriMo. I was thinking about writing. Living, breathing it. Plot holes piling everywhere I look and haunting me in my sleep, but this year, I honestly did not think about it unless I was sitting down in front of the computer with the document open.

And so on one hand, it was not as crazy, but on the other, I’m less satisfied with the content of the latter method.

Maybe it has to do with everything going on this November. There was a point where I was falling behind and getting too overwhelmed and gave up.

Completely and absolutely gave up.

There was debate going on over here, choir prep for our huge Christmas concert over here, family in town, school papers and prep for finals.

I decided that was it, which made my competitive side feel cheated and angry, but that was washed away with the flood of immediate relief.

For eight days straight, I never touched it. Instead I memorized my speeches, attended my scrimmage, did my schoolwork, and even got some time to enjoy some doodling.

And then everything changed.

I finished school two weeks early.

Out of the blue, I finished everything and found myself blinking at an empty to-do list. At which, I thought, hey. There is something I could fill all that white space with.

The conversation went something like this:

Answer:

Me:

At which point, I knew I would have to throw myself all in to catch up (you know catch up on *coughs* 20,000 words) so I went to my room, opened my closet, and pulled out my laptop.

It’s a serious thing to pull out my laptop, let me tell you.

My dad likes to say this laptop teaches the virtue of patience.

I like to say it’s the NaNoWriMo-er’s dream come true.

Or the procrastinator’s nightmare.

Look at it whatever way you want, but this tiny device I got used is so slow it can not process more than two (sometimes three if we’re lucky) things at a time. When I say things, I mean tabs open on a browser. Two programs – say the weather app and a browser – that kills it.

(The laptop also so light and small, it’s easy to walk around and type on at the same time, see? NaNoWriMo-er’s dream come true. FYI I’m selling it to the highest bidder, starting all the cost of all your books and mugs.)

In the end, it works like this:

  • Tab one: document with story.
  • Tab two: NaNoWriMo.

And I am here to tell you it works like magic (mixed with some coffee, chocolate, fellowly desperate writer-friends, and a stubborn nature)

And so on November 30th, right at 10 p.m. I reached 50,000 words.

And won.

And got this cool badge:

And this one:

Here’s how it ended up looking:

(the light blue line is the ideal spot to be every day for a casual and perfectly evened out win.)

My most written in one day was 8,537 words.

So I finished. Now what?

Like I mentioned, the word count goal was finished but the story was not. So do I plan to finish it?

The answer is, no not really.

Perhaps someday I will dig it out of the dumpster and completely start over with a new plot, some new characters, but the same seed of an idea and hope the mutation doesn’t happen again.

As I wrote November 30th at around 10:55 p.m. in my victory acceptance speech:

In the end, this is a jumble of confused sentences strung together with random items and phrases woven within. But do I care? Sure it is trash – I’d be the first to admit it – but I am happy with it for the single fact I won. Oh life, oh stress, oh busy days, where is your sting? I went ten full days without writing a word and yet I am the victor. I finish with a blast and blow the stress to bits, burn it it all to dust, and throw the ash into the four winds to be carried off by Euros. And so I plant my flag of victory of β€œ50,009” into your throat and declare to all the world, I beat you oh monsters. How does that taste? The taste of defeat and shame. You have no hold on me. I wear the flag of victory.

Yes, in the end it is trash, and I will never go as far to even write a second draft, but I care not. Someday perhaps I might take the initial idea – that of the task of taking up a pen and writing about three hurt and broken people struggling to make sense of a broken world – that small glimmering jewel I took hold of for the first day and lost somewhere in the mist – but until there, small cardboard empire, wash away and erode into the murky sea. 

Good novel of NaNoWriMo 2019, I give thee leave to do it. In fact, until further notice, when I might take ye out for a laugh or a mighty cringe-attack, I command thee to collect dust in the utmost darkest corner of the valleys in my google drive.

Yeah. I was excited. πŸ˜›

Let’s look back and see what changed from what I did have in my brainstorming list of things to include. (list from before)

| outcasts |

Check!

Though my unique, wingless, outcast character stumbled somehow upon a wingless society which she fit into perfectly, and then the rest of the story happened there.

Yeah.

Don’t ask me where that country came from.

| fog monsters |

Yes! Though again. For some reason my characters aren’t actually frightened of them… even though they are extremely deadly… and they never truly show up even though they are amazing hunters…?

Maybe the fog monsters were on vacation.

| towering treehouse mansions |

Do you realize houses are hard to spread over multiple trees, because trees bend and shift in the wind?

And there’s lots of wind in my story.

So there are towering treehouse mansions, but there really shouldn’t be.

If I rewrite this thing sometime, it will be more of a Swiss Family Robinson with swinging bridges. Except that people who can fly don’t need bridges.

| old maps |

There were two. But they were just old maps. Nothing spectacular about them. I’m going to assume that I meant something more exciting by this in October…

| pirates |

Honestly, I forgot my old man was going to be an ex-pirate. He ended up just being a retired sailor with a tragic backstory.

| locked sea chests and riddles |

HA.

Nothing even close.

| angry mobs |

They weren’t angry.

Just silent and still. And kinda frightened.

| a quest (to what though I have yet to discover) |

Yeah sure. There were a couple quests.

But the main one I thought of in the first week (and the best one) fizzled out. πŸ˜›

| magical ship with no crew |

AH ha. Finally. Yes. There was a magical ship with no crew. Well. Depends on your definition.

Which brings us to what random things my characters did behind my back…

| ghosts |

I’m not even sure where these guys came from, but once the first showed up, the rest followed.

Including a whole host that haunts my poor, old (not pirate) man and the host that is rumored to run the magical ship.

Yeah.

But it gets worse.

| lost mc |

I’m not even joking. I legitimately have no idea what happened to my main character.

Is she on the boat? Or not? Because if she’s on the boat then there is no way back and she’s lost forever (not to mention maybe stuck with a bunch of ghosts), and if she isn’t, then where in the world is she? Because the other alternatives aren’t that pretty either.

Please someone help. I’ve lost a character, and this time it’s not on purpose.

(And now that a certain person will see this, she is not going to be super happy sooo)

ANYWAYS

On to the things I do have under control.

Right.


Other November Writings

Beyond my NaNoWriMo project, I did not write much. No poetry. No plot bunny attacks. No partially baked stories stuck back in the microwave.

Again, unlike last year when this big furry time-traveling monster wearing a trench coat and sunglasses kidnapped me for a couple days and held me at gun point until I wrote something for him.

The main thing beyond NaNoWriMo was compiling a list for 51 of

  1. major edits to enforce like filling in major plot holes, general renovations, character development, etc.
  2. minor things such as particular scenes I want to fix the feel of or things I need to research, and then
  3. people I hope will read it and give feedback.

In fact for a month dedicated for writing, there was a extremely small amount of time I actually wrote, but at the same time it felt very productive. I had been needing to compile that list for a while and will probably continue to add to it.


Random other achievements of November:

  1. Watched BBC Pride and Prejudice my sixth(?) time and wrote half a post on why it’s obviously better than the Keira Knightly version.
  2. Helped my family put on a English Country dance.
  3. Watched one of my older sisters die twice in Frankenstein the New Musical. (Was there an older musical?)
  4. Celebrated Thanksgiving twice.
  5. Made some earrings to sell at a craft fair.
  6. Baked some cookies with my little sister. Because. Christmas cookies.
  7. Listened to the This Beautiful Fantastic soundtrack non-stop. Except now Christmas music too.
  8. Watched The Matrix for the first time. (It’s amazing guys. Amazing.)
  9. Reorganized my bookshelf for the 50th time. (Yeah, I’m slightly obsessed with doing that.)
  10. Raked leaves.
  11. Lost at the strategy game I am renowned for winning. πŸ˜” (Any Seven Wonder Duel fans out there?)

And now I’m wondering how to present the title of a game. Italicized? In quotation marks?

Anywho.

In conclusion, writing a book is a fun and crazy experience, and I had an amazing break that thoroughly enjoyed.

And oh.

Did you do NaNoWriMo? How did it go? What’s your next step with your novel?