NaNoThon & Recap

Despite my reservations about being able to keep a pace of 1,667 words per day during November, I have have more or less been keeping up. This has been encouraging, although I have been pretty worried that this means my Thanksgiving holiday will be consumed with writing. Not that I don’t love to write, but family time definitely eats up a lot of my Thanksgiving holiday, so I decided to use the NaNoThon this weekend to get ahead. I had a lot of stress earlier today because during the first week of NaNoWriMo, I was able to get through the remainder of Act I by Friday afternoon. During the first 7 days of NaNoWriMo, I wrote 12,417 words. That was more than my entire word count for the whole month of October. Then, on day 8, I slacked off! I know, I should have kept the momentum I had going through the first seven days, but I definitely slacked off on Friday.

I attribute this to the fact that I had a general scene-by-scene bullet point list derived from my outline for Act I, and I more or less just went scene by scene and wrote. Certainly, there have been deviations from my outline, and any final synopsis I generate will have to be adjusted for that, but I got to the end of Act I, and I was not sure what to do with Act II. So, today, I did some thinking and questioning and realized I needed to go back into Act I and add another section to a scene I had already written, and once I did that, I knew what had to come next, so I was able to jot down the next seven or eight bullet points which should get me almost to the mid-point of the novel. Once I had my bullet points in place, it was smooth sailing in the writing department.

So, during Saturday’s NaNoThon, which is the day they designate for all-day writing (as well as donations), I managed 4,331 words (which is a record for one day’s worth of writing for Compendium), and my total word count as of day 9 stands at 17,718 (or 2,718 over pace). The weekend isn’t over, so I will try to continue the pace tomorrow while my partner watches football and really give myself a nice padding. It has also been nice to have a clear picture of what I need to write along with a deadline. As all the craft books and advice-givers out there say, just get the first draft down and don’t go back and revise or agonize over it. There will be plenty of time to wordsmith in the re-write. That was something I did not do with my last attempt, and I think it has made a marked difference in my ability to get the story out.

A quick look at my Scrivener manuscript statistics shows that my novel is currently at 26,640 words or 119 printed manuscript pages. This officially makes it the farthest that I have written in a novel, and I am definitely energized to see it through. I expect the final novel word count to be somewhere north of 100,000 words, since it is a fantasy novel, it is expected to be a bit longer than another genre novel. I can already think of some scenes that I may need to add in earlier that flesh out the pacing and make sure that it isn’t progressing too quickly, but that is perfectly fine to save for draft two.

While I am at it, I should probably should mention that, since I have written all of Compendium so far in Scrivener, I definitely see its value over using a standard word processor. The compile function is so easy to use that I can export my novel to Word whenever I want. But being able to move scenes around, drag them to new chapters, add scene blurbs, tag and mark the scenes as first draft, etc. is incredibly handy. I spend a lot more time writing, and I can just deal with moving the scene where it needs to go later. It was a great investment for my novel writing. I just really, really wish that they had an iOS application that syncs to the desktop version. I would love to add information to my project from the road, but the machinations one has to go to link the Scrivener file to an external editor using dropbox is not something I am interesting in tinkering with. Apparently, according to the company’s twitter account, that is in the works for 2014… that application can’t come fast enough guys!

About the Photograph: This is a detail shot of a the plant Aristolochia elegans (I prefer the title Roiling Caldera) taken on my birthday, April 11, 2006 at the Leu Gardens in Orlando, Florida.

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