All’s fair in love….and NaNoWriMo

I don’t know about the love part, but that’s how the saying goes, yeah?

November has been a wicked month for me.

You'd think, wouldn't you? What with it being winter and all..
You’d think, wouldn’t you? What with it being winter and all..

No. Not that. I’m in Oklahoma. I’ve been told it doesn’t snow all that much out here. Which is a bummer, but what are you going to do? No. The trouble came not from the (lack of) snow, or the Thanksgiving, or even the Doctor Who.

Which was awesome.
Which was awesome.

The trouble came from school. And the book. And, you know, that pesky thing we call life. But mostly from the book. I have this thing I do; I tend to take things at their letter. If it says write a novel in a month, then by God I will write a novel in a month. Which means, beginning, middle, and THE END at the end. ONLY then, am I allowed to validate the novel in the NaNo counter and claim myself a winner.

And also earn my reward, but that’s beside the point.

I am, at heart, a nerd. Couldn't resist.  (image copyright think geek.com)
I am, at heart, a nerd. Couldn’t resist.
(image copyright think geek.com)

The point is, no two NaNoWriMos are the same and for one bleak moment, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to complete the challenge this year. Even with my writing partner Shiri  writing with me every night she could, putting herself out there as my sounding board, and even doing NaNo as a solidarity project, AND with the help of with RoTaNoWriMo,  I ended up staring at a screen with a blinking cursor. Sure, there were words on the screen, 58 thousand of them to be exact, but the ONLY reason they were there, and the numbers were so high is because of that magic ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ command. I had met and exceeded the word count, but I was absolutely stuck.

I’d written myself into a corner. Worse yet, I didn’t even like the damn story. Lucky me I had written the ending -sort of- and the ending was good -sort of- I just didn’t know how I was going to get there, or if I even wanted to get there anymore. Compared to last year where it was a mad dash to the end and I made it with three days to spare AND three days off. This time around I had school deadlines to meet.

The final image is a portfolio image and can't be used, BUT it took me until bloody four in the morning to finish!
The final image is a portfolio image and can’t be used, BUT it took me until bloody four in the morning to finish!

And other obligations to be social. Outside of family.

GET AWAY FROM MY BUBBLE!  (image copyright Dr. Carmella)
GET AWAY FROM MY BUBBLE!
(image copyright Dr. Carmella)

And the self added pressure of regular updates. Not only on this blog, but on NewFictionWriters.  Which are still going to happen. On one of the two blogs, mind, I just need to take a few days and do a month’s worth of entries. Needless to say, the pressure was translating to crappy writing and crappy feelings toward the book I’ve been wanting to write for years.

So, I rewrote.

And, maybe it’s cheating the system, but I started right back from the ground and worked my way through. Don’t mistake me, I didn’t delete anything I wrote. At all. I simply re-wrote what I had put down. Some of it I kept, most of it went right into the junk pile. Whole scenes were cut and more were added, and eventually, when my word count started to take a serious plunge, I played a game with myself. 5k a night to see how many I’ll really end up with by the time the story is really done.

My final count: 59,633.

The story is a mess of third person omniscient, first person present, and third person past tense. I take the fourth wall and explode it completely into idly bitty pieces.

Because I can.

And after Annie is out into the world, I’m going to see if I can keep Carousel written that way and pull it off. Because  I like it. It’s a fantasy story written by a nerd, for nerds. It’s completely unbelievably fun, and completely unbelievable, but that’s okay. It’s supposed to be that way.

And if there is any lesson to be learned from NaNoWriMo it’s this: don’t go into the challenge with last year in your mind. No two are alike. And always, always have someone there to help you when times get tough. Because they will.

I was lucky to have so many.

Toodles!

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4 thoughts on “All’s fair in love….and NaNoWriMo

  1. JD Mader says:

    Good on ya. You’re right. It’s a weird thing. I did it once (The Biker) and my goal was to conceive of, write, and edit within a month. It worked once. I don’t want to push it. 😉 Congratulations!

    1. rjkeith says:

      Thanks JD! I don’t know how you did all of that in a month! My first NaNo novel is still sitting on my dropbox, waiting for me to take the editing pen to it. The only novel I went from writing straight into editing was Annie, and that was difficult. And took me three months from writing to editing. Well done, sir, I couldn’t do what you did.

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