Nanowrimo Done and Dusted

So that’s NaNoWriMo done. I hit 50K today with a burst of 3000 words and now I am a bit knackered. I just wanted to record the fact and make a few notes. Next week hopefully, I will publish selected extracts from my book diary with more details of the actual process.

So what did I learn? The usual really. No surprises. Badges really work for me. On several occasions, I pushed on to a higher daily word count just so I could get a shiny new badge on my NaNoWriMo front page. There’s something about small regular rewards that really does the business for me.

Google Docs is actually a pretty good word processor for NaNoWriMo. I could work almost anywhere on anything. It did not matter what OS I was using. I just logged in to Chrome and there was my work in progress. I even did some editing on my phone. I can never really recommend this because of the ergonomics but it’s a great way of keeping in touch with what you are writing. I could refamiliarise myself with the work in progress while I was sitting on the tram or in a cafe just by pulling out my phone. This is important for me because it reminds me of little bits of detail or business that I can pick up on later. I kept my notes, my book diary and my manuscript in separate tabs in Chrome and it all worked like a charm. It also helped me when I was doing my daily edits of the previous couple of days work. Often I did not have to make many changes, just correct spelling or chop a few words out of sentences. Those are possible on a phone.

Sprints are great. I had totally forgotten about these until I read my old blog posts from a previous NaNoWriMo. I had been sticking to pomodoros this time but there were days when it was a real strain to sit down for twenty-five minutes at a time and write. Some of you are probably thinking wimp, but it’s harder than it sounds when you are sick or you getting up in the middle of the night to give a sick kid anti-biotics. Both of which I was.

Also, I admit it, I am a slothful man so this is a big thing for me. I would set my timer for 10 minutes and write. Sometimes when I was feeling particularly foul it would be for five minutes. In any case, you do enough of these tiny slivers of work and they become a great steaming pile of it eventually.

Writing into the dark, without any plan, was amusing, a bit like winging it as an RPG GM back in the day. A lot of stuff came out that I would probably not have seen if I had been working from an outline and a setting I had fleshed out in advance. I ended up with something that reads like a grimdark Lovecraftian wuxia version of Apocalypse Now, with our heroes going upriver through a jungle full of zombies on a magically powered paddle steamer. Not my typical sword and sorcery output.

Did I actually write a novel in a month? Nope. I reckon I am about halfway through the book. There’s still plenty to do before its over but I am confident I can finish it from here. And with the sound of those famous last words ringing in my ears, I am off to lie down now.

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  1. “A grimdark Lovecraftian wuxia version of Apocalypse Now” Yes, I’d pay to read that.

    • Well, sir, as will become obvious when I get round to blogging my writer’s diary, it was a facebook comment of yours that inspired the plot. You mentioned reading A NIGHT IN LONESOME OCTOBER every Halloween just as I was hunting for a plot. And I thought, that’s it, the heroes are closers. Instead of looking for Kurtz, they are on their way to shut an open gate.

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