jayeless: photo of me at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain (Default)

NaNoWriMo winner 2010!Yes, I won NaNoWriMo for another year ;D I'm pretty sure that I left victory the latest this year of any year — I crossed the 50,000 word mark on the 29th and I think I've usually finished around the 23rd or thereabouts although I don't quite remember — but regardless, I actually did pull through.

And I pulled through despite hating the way my novel was structured to begin with, and excising a point-of-view character before even getting to any of his scenes, and reworking the entire second half of the outline when I was halfway through the first half. I also fell significantly behind at one point and had to work hard to catch up (6,000-word days help), and then although I pulled significantly ahead, I didn't really stay there, hence the twenty-ninth-day victory. BUT ANYWAY I WON. That's the important part.

I basically like the idea I've had and the plot, but I don't like the way I've executed the plot, so I'm going to go back and rework it (again) at some point. I really want to do justice to this idea and construct it properly, and tone down the violence, and give the characters more scenes that demonstrate their actual characters in the first section of the novel. If you remember my last post, I was really irritated at how much my outline seemed to consist of gratuitous violence, so that's the section I need to fix up :P Yeah.

Click through for more ramblings about the plot and whatnot... )

jayeless: typewriter (writing)

As you might already know, I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year! This is the sixth year I've done it (I think... doing this every year since 2005 makes this my sixth year, right?), soooo by this point in time NaNoWriMo's become part of an established routine in my life. Something that's stuck by me for my entire adolescence. Something like that, anyway...

You might also know that I have this one novel that I've been writing and rewriting and rewriting again for approximately a gazillion years (i.e. three... and a bit). I'm not rewriting it again for NaNoWriMo. However, what I am doing is taking some of the things that were infodumped in the last chapter of that novel, and making a whole, new novel out of them. That novel is far more narrowly focused than this novel, concentrating more or less on one person and her life and the lives of the people she knows to some extent... but mostly about her.

This one, on the other hand, is broader and takes in different perspectives on events by people from different sides in this extremely messy conflict I managed to invent! One of the plot threads has been in my head a long, long time – approximately as long as my constantly-rewritten novel's one – because it was where I intended one of the secondary characters in that novel to go. I changed my mind though because I didn't think her personality would actually countenance it, so now there's a new character. Basically. Yeah.

Then there are three other main characters. Two of them have kind of short-ish plotlines, and the last doesn't have much of a plotline at all because I haven't thought of one yet. Right now he has a short plotline about the same length as the other two, but it's supposed to be much longer. So I need to work on that xD

The actual plot (...theme? premise?) of the novel basically goes like this: there's a country with two major ethnic groups, presided over by an evil totalitarian government. It maintains a system of segregation so that most localities are monoethnic, and also so that it can restrict the flow of information and ideas between localities. It pretends to be fair and just, but in reality it favours one race, the descendants of the island's occupiers when it was part of an empire, over the other. So a crazy-insane extremist movement begins to gain currency within the oppressed group, and eventually, it gains enough strength to topple the state. The rest of the novel is basically about... what happens next. Two of the main characters die, another suffers for a long time before managing to get out, and the last... well he's the one whose plot I haven't figured out yet but I'm pretty sure he enjoys himself. For a while at least.

Anywayyyy I started writing at 12am on the dot obviously (no wait actually I didn't because I was talking to someone so we only started at like 12.30 haha oops) and I'm now at 1,703 words, with one chapter totally down :D I don't hate the chapter either, so I am considering (strong emphasis on the part of that word which entails the meaning "undecided") posting it. If I do, it'll probably be friends/access-only or perhaps filter-locked depending on how I feel so if you're interested, speak up ;)

jayeless: typewriter (writing)

After making 50,000 on... the 26th, I think it was... I wanted to write the remaining chapters that looked interesting, which would be a rate of two chapters a day. I did NOT make that rate; I wrote two on the 27th, almost one on the 28th, nothing yesterday, and the last half of one/first half of the next today. That puts me three and a half chapters away from my outline being written.

Wordcount-wise I did fantastically, though. 66,233 was my final count! :] That's the first time I've written over 55,000 words (usually I get to 50,000 and lose interest; this time I'd been uninspired and GAINED interest as I approached 50,000), and it's a particularly amazing achievement since I had exams for the first half of this month.

Perhaps more of an achievement is the number of words I managed to write in the later days of the competition. Yes, I wrote 66,233 words in 30 days. That's approx. 2,208 words a day. But here are some other statistics:

  • I wrote 55,401 words in 17 days (14th to today; 3,259 a day)
  • I wrote 25,717 words in 9 days (22nd to today; 2,857 a day)
  • I wrote 10,143 words in 1 day (the 22nd)

On nine of the thirty days (30%) I wrote precisely zero words. On fifteen of the thirty days (50%) I did not meet 1,667. I think this proves that binging on words and then burning out and taking a break can be an effective strategy. ;)

The furthest behind I ever got was 10,835 words behind on day 15. The furthest ahead was 16,233 words ahead, today. :P

I know that around day 13 I started assuming it'd be impossible for me to win this NaNoWriMo, since I was so far behind and my story was so not engaging me. Not only did I make the 50,000, but this is my most productive NaNoWriMo by far! I am proud of myself. I'm not sure how I pulled it off, but I pulled it off.

The plan is to finish the last few chapters I wanted to finish and then go back to my other project that I keep mentioning. Maybe overlap them a little. Hopefully it works out. ^_^

jayeless: typewriter (writing)

I won NaNoWriMo today. I even posted a Twitter status to prove it.

Currently I'm sitting at 51,249 words (according to MS Word) or possibly 51,539 words (according to the official NaNoWriMo word counter) and have been for the last hour or so. I'm contemplating to myself whether I actually want to continue with this travesty (to write, say, the last few scenes in my outline that I was sort of looking forward to, inasmuch as I looked forward to any scene) or whether I want to stop now and return to my other project that I've barely touched since September.

I don't actually think my current project is all bad. Like I'm sure I said before the month even began, I thought this "first draft" was going to be more of an exploratory project. Feeling out the idea, so to speak. I haven't quite finished feeling it out (which is why I contemplate persisting with it until my outline runs out), but I've made a lot of progress.

And yes, as I was writing, the plot evolved in unpredictable spurts. The character of the prime minister, for instance, became much more malevolent than I'd originally contemplated. To a certain extent he became sinister and calculating... kind of like I imagine Kevin Rudd being, behind closed doors, but even worse. At some point in the outline there was supposed to be a ramping up of efforts to prosecute the robots and their supporters, and this turned out to be a far greater ramping up than I'd originally intended. One character who was supposed to be arrested and released for lack of evidence (despite being guilty) turned out to be arrested and detained until she signed a confession, because it seemed the most logical way for the plot to go.

There's some weirdness with the chronology I need to fix up. The events recounted by each of the main characters are so close together that they actually overlap at times and confuse me. My outline didn't necessarily list the chapters in chronological order, either -- more in, "this character hasn't had a chapter for a while so I'll give them one" order. I need to fix that one up, even if it means someone doesn't get a chapter for 20,000 words. Chronological order is more important. It'll also, hopefully, eliminate the feeling that some of my chapters are mere padding.

I tend to think I'll write the remaining scenes that I actually want to write until November ends, and then I'll go back to my other project in December. If I do do that, then despite my terrible start, I'll actually write more words this month than I have in any NaNoWriMo prior to this.

jayeless: typewriter (writing)

Two days ago, I'd been at 10,832 words for almost a week, diligently ignoring my novel in favour of preparing for EXAMS (and suffering through a heatwave).

I have one last exam tomorrow, but I haven't let that stop me begin writing again in an attempt to catch up. On this day, halfway through the month when I should be at 25,000 words, I am actually at 17,317. That means that, while I am still behind, I'm making rapid progress regaining ground and catching up to where I should be.

I'm in two minds about my novel right now. On the one hand, I want to keep writing so I don't lose NaNoWriMo. On the other, I do not like some of the characters. Some of them are boring. One of them is currently getting the shortest chapters with scenes approximately three paragraphs long, because she's that boring. On the other hand, I like the police officer character, the politician character, and the somewhat violent socialist revolutionary character. Those three are interesting. I'm currently writing their scenes and skipping other characters.

At this stage, I've given up thinking that this novel is going to be anything that can be edited into a readable novel... it's more of an exploration of ideas. After NaNoWriMo, and after I finish editing/rewriting my beloved project of two and a half years (which I find myself itching to return to!), I'll see how I can go about reforming this one.

I suspect one of the best things I could do would be to focus on one point-of-view character. I like ensemble casts for the amount of stuff they enable to be put into the novel, but I am NOT keeping the secondary characters' names straight, I can't remember all the damn laws and stuff I invented, and I can't even make my novel fit the Australian political/legal system (FYI self: policing is a state responsibility, not a federal one).

If I do that, I think I'll focus on Connor. He has the most interesting plot of all the characters anyway, plus he switches sides halfway through the story, so I might be able to cover two perspectives of the conflict. We will see, I suppose.

Right now I want to get the 50,000 over with so I can return to my beloved project. Only 32,700ish to go!

April 2011

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