I have a wonderful sister. I didn’t know this until I got older, but she really is very wonderful. She just recently had a baby, who is now four months old, and has managed to quit her job so that she can do photography full-time. She asked Jason and I this year what we would like for Christmas; actually she asked me what Jason might like and asked Jason what I might like. I gave her several ideas, and apparently he gave her several ideas as well. I didn’t think much about it until I received a box in the mail a couple of days ago.
My sister, who I tormented for much of her childhood, bought me Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Christmas. She got it for me so that I could dictate my writing instead of having to type it. It is probably one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. I haven’t worked with it much, although I am typing this post using it at the moment, but already I am enjoying how it works. I’ve gotten a little used to voice recognition software because of the iPhone, so it’s not too hard to learn especially with the punctuation. I think what I’m most going to have to get used to is actually dictating what I’m writing. It feels a little weird to be saying what I mean to be typing. I’m sure that I’ll get used to it however and I’m confident that it will eventually be an excellent tool for my writing.
Now that I’ve finally managed to pay for my Scrivener license, I have been able to keep writing on the novel I started during NaNoWriMo. I’m over 60k words now, with probably 2 chapters to finish. Then, it gets put away while I work on another story that’s been begging to be written for a couple years now. I’ve allowed one person to read the rough draft, though there are a few others I’m ready to give it to as well. I’m very anxious about it, honestly, because I feel like most of what I wrote is a pile of messy garbage, but I’m too close to it, I know that.
Now that I own the program, I’m using it to help me organize my poetry too. I’ve got a lot, and if I’m ever going to publish any of it, I need to be able to put it in collections. So that’s another project I’m going to be beginning in the coming weeks. I have a lot of writing projects planned, in fact, which is what I want to do. That, and knitting. But I talk about that elsewhere.
As of today at around 2:30pm, I have written over 50,000 words. My novel is not complete, and I will keep writing until it is (that’s part of the deal I made with myself when I started this adventure) but I have officially won my first NaNoWriMo. After trying (not-so) seriously for 4 years. I’m so extremely proud of myself.
Several people have asked me where they can read the full text of the novel. I haven’t posted that anywhere yet. For one thing, 50k is a lot of text, and I don’t know how WordPress will handle that. Second, it’s not done, and I’m not sure I’m ready to post it. It needs editing. Really. This is the first time I’ve written anything that I didn’t edit as I went. It’s the first I’m I’ve written anything that I wouldn’t immediately submit. I wouldn’t offer this as a finished anything. It’s done, but certainly not finished – and it’s not even really done.
So I will post it to be read at some point, but for the moment I haven’t done that yet. As I edit sections probably, I’ll post them to be read. I won’t even worry about final editing before I do that, because I want other people’s opinions, not my own. I know this story is somewhat indulgent and likely droll, but it was my first attempt at writing anything substantial in -forever- so I really just wanted to get it written.
I’m going to go do something else for a bit. Knit. Cuddle my cat. Watch television. I might watch the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special again. And again. I’ll write more tomorrow I’m sure. I’m in the habit of it, and I still have more to say. But right now, I’m basking in the glory of such an immense accomplishment. I might even have a drink, before 5pm. Yeah, I just might.
Only when he was certain the man was truly gone did he open the door again, walking out to the desk Della was sitting at. “Don’t worry about him. That’s my ex’s father. He’s a blowhard,” he said with a smile. “Why don’t you go take lunch, Della. I’ve got some things I need to handle, and I’ll be staying in the office a while.”
“Are you sure Mr. Morris? I can stay and help with whatever you need.”
He smiled. Oh, she wasn’t being very subtle. “I’m certain. Thank you Della, but I can manage on my own,” he replied, trying for subtlety even though it seemed lost on her. Maybe she was used to seducing her employers in order to keep her positions for a while, Kieran thought.
She pouted slightly, but hid it with a quick smile. “Alright. Have a good lunch Mr. Morris,” she said, gathering her purse and her bookbag and leaving the office.
He walked back into his office then, and closed the door. He looked at his phone, chuckling as he felt just a little nervous. He pushed the nerves aside though, and dialed Morgan’s number. It rang half a dozen times, then clicked into her voicemail. “Hi, you’ve reached Morgan’s phone. I’m probably busy right now, but leave a message and I’ll call you back soon as I can. Beeeeeeep.”
I’m over a third of the way through my days, and over 40% of the way through the 50k words needed to complete NaNo. I don’t think that 50k will finish my story, so I’m going to have to keep going until the story is told.
Already I’ve discovered a few things about my writing along the way. One of my protagonists is an unknowing antagonist, really. The character I thought was going to be the main antagonist is really just a minor player. Magic works oddly in the real world, so I can’t wait to see how it’s going to work now that we’ll get to see the other world.Men in bow-ties and pocket squares, and temps, are not to be trusted.
Also, I’ve learned that I can be disciplined enough to write 2k words every day. I’ve managed it almost every day so far. Or close to it. NaNoWriMo is a curious thing, because it ‘forces’ you to write a novel-length rough draft in far less time than most authors write their rough draft. If I can do this, then why the hell can’t I do this every other month of the year? I don’t have to finish a novel a month, but surely I can finish the few I have rattling around in my head, and make room for more.
I’ve already written 1500 words today, so I thought I’d take a break, and show folks what my writespace looks like.
First of all, there’s my desk itself. Beast though it is, I still love it to pieces (and if I ever move I’m going to have to take it out in pieces I’m sure). A lot of what’s there has little to do with my writing, honestly, but makes it a comfortable place to write. I have my books for writing, and journals on the left, my OBOD ritual books and Touchstone editions on the right, and yarn and knitting needles everywhere. Room enough for whatever I’m drinking, and usually whatever I’m eating too, though I’d like to make myself a heavy trivet or something for when I eat soup at the desk. (I know I shouldn’t but I write while I eat, sue me!) Then of course there’s the laptop. I’m a typing writer, not a hand-writing writer. I’d go insane if I had to hand-write everything.
So, my laptop is the source of all my writing goodness. I keep a browser open in the background with twitter (for NaNoWordSprint tweets mostly, since I follow very few people), the NaNoWriMo website, my writing blog (for update posts) and a research site open. I sometimes have a second browser in the very background open as well, with Facebook and Ravelry open, for when I allow myself breaks. I have to Sprint twice before I can take a break, though.
I also keep a calculator on the side of the screen, so that I can see what my writing totals are for a particular sprint. I find that I like seeing how each little sprint adds up to a larger total.
So there’s something I don’t quite understand about some people participating in NaNoWriMo. I was perusing the forums idly while trying to decide what I’m going to write about next month, and came across the “How do you prepare for NaNo?” thread. It sounded interesting, so I began reading through it, and I was honestly a little appalled at some of the responses, and more than slightly confused.
I am not a particularly fast writer, but I timed myself the other day, and I wrote around 800 words in about 40 minutes. Which means on average, I can write 1000 words an hour. So if I just write two hours a day, I have plenty of time to write my novel. Even if it takes me longer once in a while, there’s still plenty of time. What really gets me is the people who have basically said they won’t be doing housework, cooking, homework, and basically will avoid doing anything except writing for the whole month. People who are preparing a month’s worth of meals, and bribing their children to leave them alone, and telling friends and family not to expect to see them for the month.
I work. I work part time, granted, but on days that I do work I am usually there between 6 and 8 hours. Even when I work a full 8 hours, there are still plenty of hours in the day for me to get some writing done, and cook a meal for myself and my husband, and do a load of laundry or wash dishes or take the trash out. If I’m not working a particular day, I have plenty of time to write, and go take a walk, and go get a cup of coffee if I want to. I can visit friends. I can spend time doing other things – for me that’s probably knitting and spinning. I cannot imagine a reason that someone would have to swear off all interaction with the people around them, or why they would have to plan to eat nothing but ramen noodles and candy and soda. That doesn’t seem at all healthy to me. I also don’t understand the ‘I’m going to use paper plates/plastic cups’ mentality either. Talk about being wasteful. Wash a plate or a cup. Getting away from your computer screen or notebook for 10 minutes won’t kill you.
I guess maybe I’m just not as fanatical about it, or maybe I’m a faster writer than I think, but it doesn’t seem like it’d be too difficult to keep a normal life while working on your NaNo novel. I competed in nerd wars and wrote over 15k words so far this month, and I wasn’t even trying for super high word count. Maybe it’s harder than it seems, but I just don’t really get the need to become that much of a hermit.
So, as I’m sitting here prepping for NaNoWriMo I came across some folks wrting about some woman named Diana Gabaldon, and who she raised a stink about fanfic. I don’t write fanfic, but I sometimes enjoy reading it. It’s fluff, admittedly, and a little bit cheating if you want to be a writer, but if your only goal is to explore the ‘what-ifs’ of a particular genre then why not?
What got me is reading some of Ms Gabaldon’s responses to the usual arguments for fan-fic writing. In particular, this little gem: “I mean, who _didn’t_ take a moment to contemplate what it would have been like if Elizabeth Swann had kissed Jack Sparrow instead of staying with Orlando Bloom?”
Really, Ms Gabaldon? Did you really just suggest that the -character- Elizabeth Swann kissed the -actor- Orlando Bloom? Uh huh. Do you truly expect people to take you seriously when you make a gaff like that?
Sorry, that sounds a little fan-fic-y to me.
I have been trying to decide if I want to try out Scrivener, which is software geared specifically to writers, especially novelists. It’s not terribly expensive, but I didn’t want to buy it if I wasn’t going to like/use it in the long run. They do have a 30-day trial, but if I were to do that now, and then find I like it and use it every day, it would run out before NaNoWriMo ends. I didn’t like the idea of that, because inevitably, things like that run out when you don’t have everything backed up somewhere else and I know how distracted I will get come the end of November, between work and Nerd Wars and holidays.
Well I was perusing the threads on the NaNo forums, and came across one that said there was a special trial for NaNoWriMo users. It turns out you can download it now, and it stays active until December 7th. If you win, you get a 50% discount, and even if you don’t, you get a 20% discount off the purchase price. So, worst case scenario, I like it but don’t manage to complete my novel and end up paying $32. Best case, I love it and only have to pay $20.
So I’ve downloaded it, and played with a bit, and I’m really liking the features it has. It seems to play well with the way I write, and appeals to my need for organization at my fingertips.