November has come and gone and now there simply remains one question. Did I make it?
Nanowrimo, the National Novel Writing Month, is an online contest that asks you to pen 50 000 words in a 30 day period. Is that possible?
After last year’s so-close-I-could-almost-taste-it routine (I have to come up with shorter names) fell flat at 42 k (plus change) I sat down this year ready to give it another shot.
So I used an idea I had been brewing in my head for years. It was a shallow idea in the beginning, with little to no substance just a one word description.
Something like what happens is Harry Potter was a cowboy instead of a student?
FYI this is not my idea.
So from there I spent hours upon hour mentally working the idea through, looking to add more meat and flesh to the skinny horse riding wizard. I thought about when I had free time, when I was at work and when I was supposed to be talking to my wife and in-laws (i got into trouble for that one.)
Eventually I had the fleshed out idea. From there I needed the outline. I wrote down what I wanted to happen, (I’ve seen too many cartoons to know that one swift blow to the head and everything’s gone) and how I wanted my character to develop. Would Cowboy Potter be brave a heroic from the start or would he eventually get there?
With the outline and plan ready I sat down and started typing away.
So I faced many free time sinks in the month of November. First of which was my birthday, which happened early one in the month, then part way through I ended up doing this small little convention call Hal-Con 2011. The con was only two days but add a set-up day before hand and post con responsibility day at the end and the entire thing went from 2 zero word days to four zero word days. Any buffer I had never survived the first day.
Then, above all else, I decide on that month to get a life. I am going to functions, having game days with my friends, doing x-mas parades for Hal-Con and even poker nights with my buddies. So my zero writing days grew. Unlike university, where I wrote easily 50 k or more in a month with my homework and essays combined, Nanowrimo is not a wildly excepted reason to bail on your friend.
You can say “Sorry man, I have school work.” But you cannot say “Sorry man I have a fully volunteer based non profit or reward writing contest I have to do.” It also doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily either.
Having a life is the bane of crunch writing.
Get a support group or cheerleaders. I had my wife, who gave me a brand new wireless keyboard for my birthday, my family, who want me to succeed, but the most help (aside from the beautiful wife of mine who reads this blog – Hi honey) was the writing buddy. The Nanowrimo website has a facebook lite function that lets you track your friend’s progress and monitor their words per day.
So I cheered her on, and she cheered me on, and low and behold we both made it. It was a down to the wire act for me, running on the last couple hours of frantic typing but I made it. When I crossed that finish line and got my final word count, I sat happily at 50 025 word.
So what next? Well the box isn’t nearly done yet, I still have roughly another 40 k words to go (your average paperback is 80 k words) and a whole whop of editing but this book will make it. I will try with everything I have to get this book in print and if it just isn’t good enough, then I dig deep and try again with another idea.
Maybe one about a desert samurai!