Writing–NaNoWriMo 2011 Thoughts

This year’s Nano was interesting.

As you may remember, I went into the month with only half of my outline done. Despite this, I still managed to hit 50,000 words in 16 days, making this my 5th NaNo win in eight years.

It was when I was doing the last half of my outline that I realized that I was just going in circles. I wasn’t getting anywhere with the story for the sake of a word count. I figured that so long as I hit 50K, I was good.  60K was my goal, but if I fell short while wrapping up with story in a satisfactory way, it was worth it. I figured I’d hit about 55 or 56K.

I finished the first draft of American Vampires on November 20th at 62,000 words.

Yeah, I’m a real good judge of my story. Oops.

The story itself is okay. I can’t say that I’m in love with it, but that could also be that I’m kind of bored with Stanley. Remember, I wrote about him last year and I’ve done a few short stories with him. So it’s possible that my burnout is clouding the quality of draft I have to work with.

There’s also the possibility that pushing myself to finish as early as possible fried my brain.

The point is that I’m done, I have yet another novel-length draft to work with, and I can forget about it for a month.

Or more.

Ah, bless NaNoWriMo.

Writing–NaNoWriMo 2011 Project

This year for Nanowrimo, I’m once again journeying into The Outskirts and once again writing about Stanley Ivanov, ugly shirt wearing vampire.

The novel is called American Vampires and it revolves around the possible existence of three, well, American vampires and what should be done with them. Stanley, his girlfriend Neda Kovar, and arch rival Nathan Vacek are sent to Mesa, Arizona by elder vampire Andrei Carp to track them down and deal with them. Unfortunately, two “hunters”, brothers Zeb and Zeke Heller, have been sent to Mesa to deal with the vampires, too.

Hilarity, bickering, violence, and blood-drinking ensue.

My goal for this novel remains the same as in previous Nanos. I aim for at least 2,000 words a day, 2,000 words to a chapter, with a target of a 60,000 word finished product with 30 chapters (it makes the math so easy). I’ve already got about a 4,000 word cushion in just this first week. I’m hoping that by doing an extra chapter or two on the weekends, I’ll be done before Thanksgiving again this year.

One thing I’ve deviated from this year is my outline. In previous years, I’ve had the outline done and ready to go for Nano. This year, I only had it about half done. So at some point, I’m going to have to outline the last half of my novel. I’m thinking that since I tend to leave the outline a little bit during the actual writing of the story, it might help in later drafts if the second half of the novel goes off of what was written.

It was planned this way, it just kind of happened due to laziness and apathy. I spent plenty of days in October in “I don’t feel like it” mode and ended up working on other things instead. I hope it doesn’t end up costing me.

Some days have been easier than others. I think yesterday stands as an accurate prediction of what this novel is going to be like. My plan was to do at least 3,000 words to add on to my little cushion. It took me over three hours to milk 2,000 words out. It was like trying to get juice from a turnip, just painful and pointless. I went out to dinner with some friends, came home, made some hot chocolate, and then managed another 2,000 words in an hour with no pain at all.

I’m just hoping for more of the latter than the former.

Writing–November Projects

I know what you’re thinking. It’s November. Why don’t you just call this post Nanowrimo 2011? Because while Nano will be a huge part of my existence for this month, I do have a few little things that I’d like to be doing on the side.

There are two contests I want to enter (should I scrape up the entry fees). One is a short-short contest and I’ve already got a story finished and ready to revise that I’d like to submit. The other is a memoir/personal essay contest. I’ve never done anything like it before, but I’ve got a few ideas that I think will work and I’d like to give it a shot. I’ve been thinking about doing memoir stuff for a while now and I think this might be a good leaping off point.

Even if I’m not able to enter the contests, I’ll still have some valuable material at the ready for when another opportunity presents itself.

Of course, this is all dependent on how well Nano goes. I’ve done 2,000 words a day with a goal of 60,000 words total for the past couple of years. Let’s hope the trend continues.

And at the end of the day, I have a few words to spare.