NaNoWriMo 2014 – Game Over, Man. Game Over.

Mario64GameOverI have had a lot of false starts with NaNoWriMo over the years. That’s to be expected. The goal can often feel distant, the daily work is tough, but I think this is the first year where I’ve made a really solid attempt at the event and failed anyway. Truth be told, I was doomed from the start. The 1st was a bad day for me to start, the 30th was a bad day to finish and there were times when the days in-between were really piling it on.

It’s not a good feeling, of course, to put so much time into something and end up at a disappointment, but it is a learning experience nonetheless. Overconfidence got me in the beginning, told me I had this whole NaNoWriMo thing down now, that I didn’t need to push it like I had before. Don’t worry, I told myself, you can catch up in your free time. But then when things happen and your free time stops being free, things can take a turn for the worse.

I might carry on along the same path with the novel. I am way off that 50k mark, but I could push to the end in another week and see where I would have arrived. However, this might be a good opportunity to take a different approach with the book. I can’t say I was completely happy with the way the book was going anyway, and it’s an idea I don’t want to waste.

So, my project was a bit of a bust this year. How did you guys get on?

NaNoWriMo 2014 – Day 10 – Oh Dear God What Happened?

Today's NaNoWriMo update is presented by Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, in front of a dinosaur skull trying to eat shadows.
Today’s NaNoWriMo update is presented by Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park, in front of a dinosaur skull trying to eat shadows.

Day 10 is upon us!

Panic, Panic, Panic. Day 10! 1/3 of the way through? Have you all written your 16,666 words?

I certainly haven’t. I am ashamed to say that I am way behind this year. I only have myself to blame. A big part of why I’m so behind is that I normally panic during November. This year, I had a lot on and I didn’t want to get too stressed out so I told myself to take it easy. After all, I’ve finished two years in a row now. Surely a third would be a doddle? I was working a little bit behind par most days, with a few days hitting 2k to compensate, but I work weekends and this last one really knocked me for six. I wrote nothing on Saturday or Sunday. Nothing! I don’t know what kind of a mad fool novelist I thought I was to try and get away with it, but now my graph looks like this:

Dark times for us all!
Dark times for us all!

As you can see, I have done a little bit today. I have a day off, so I’m working to close the gap a little. I’ve broken down everything I want to write today into 500 word blocks, and I’m going to attack the problem head on until I’ve written 3k. I won’t catch up with that fiendish dotted line, but I should close the gap enough to keep me going. I have some more time off coming up next week, so I’m going try and leave Mr Line coughing in my dust.

As for the novel itself, things are interesting. Plot developments are happening without my control again, and I’m being forced to confront more problems with my initial idea, but I’m still pretty happy with the results. My usual weaknesses are peeping through. Too much emphasis on dialogue, not enough establishment of clear characters and settings, but I’m going to really try and clean that up in the rewrite.

How are you guys doing?

NaNoWriMo 2013 – Day 19: Time is Running Out

PaulMcgann Eighth DoctorGood Morning, my fellow WriMos! How are you novels this fine day?

I know I’ve been a bit short on updates since somewhere in the middle of Week 2, but I’ve been crazy busy and my novel fell a little behind. Any spare time has been going on playing catchup, and unfortunately I’m still behind. There’s still time to pull ahead and my confidence is scuffed but undamaged and so I’ll be racing to the finish line in Week 4 with the rest of you. Though, I’m working on Day 30 so I might be pulling a few all nighters for an early finish.

So, how is my novel going? Well, I jut crossed 25k in my first session today. It’s a landmark, even if it is late. I said I’d be running an eBook freebie to celebrate, and I am. More info on that later. The novel itself is interesting. The first draft suffers from one of my common NaNoWriMo weaknesses in that it currently reads a lot like hastily written sessions stitched together. Of course, my first drafts always look like that, but in November they’re even worse. I have a feeling I’ll be expanding on a lot of stuff when it comes to rewrite, and possibly re-emphasising some characters over others. My plan was pretty cliché when I started it, but as I’ve gone on I’ve found better perspectives on my characters, and I really like the arc my protagonist is travelling. Other characters are a bit more slapdash, I have subplots and scenes that are interesting to write, but currently just run parallel to the main plot. I might find some way to tie them together well, but it’s likely they’re going to get cut in rewrite. And of course the prose is currently totally devoid of subtlety, show don’t tell, and readability, but that’s part of the first draft fun.

As to Freebies. I crossed 25k today and so I’m giving away Christmas Past as a special Half-Way celebration. The promo starts tomorrow, and will last for four days. I’ll post a proper announcement hear and on all my various social networks then, but for now you can click through to Amazon (US / UK) and see if the book captures your interest. I wrote this back in Christmas 2011, and I’m still really proud of it.

As usual, I’d love to hear how your own NaNoWriMo is going on, so if you want to leave me a comment or hit me up on twitter. Feel free.

NaNoWriMo 2013 – Day 3: I Didn’t Plan For This!

Batman with a Blank PageI’ve just finished a session for Day 3 of NaNoWriMo 2013. I’m currently only averaging around 1000 words a day because I’ve been working the last three days, but I’ve the week to myself for the next four days so I’ll have plenty of time to get ahead. Obviously, I’m not very far in yet, but I am starting to get ideas and develop scenes past my original plot outline. This can be quite good, but I don’t want to reach 5000 words without really kicking the main part of my plot into motion. Tomorrow I think my main focus is going to be to hit 6000 words and really have the first act set up properly. By the time I reach 10k I want to have the built the first act into something with real drive to it, in time to conclude at around 16k. When I hit that point, I’m probably going to re-read my plan a bit and compare it to my progress so far. See if a revised outline will be a good thing.

How is everyone else getting on with their novels?