this is what 50000 words looks like

I am, frankly, feeling a little giddy at the moment. Just this evening I finished my NaNoWriMo novel. I went to a write-in this evening downtown, after spending a big chunk of Thanksgiving puttering away between bouts of cooking. Wrote a couple thousand words at the write-in before the coffeeshop closed, at which point I was only 1500 away, so I rode back home (yes, with a new helmet, on ye olde Townie instead of the Xtracycle) and just pushed through to the end, which as it turned out was almost 600 words over the 50,000 mark.

I don’t know yet if it’s something I can work into a readable state. I do know that a lot of the writing is clunky and awkward, some of it is badly rushed, and there’s a huge chunk of flashback in the middle that may or may not be appropriate for the final piece. But all that can wait a little bit. (I am actually interested in having a couple of gentle readers who like high fantasy look at it and tell me if they think it can be salvaged.) And honestly, the fact that I did this, now, after having been essentially completely stuck with my writing for probably over five years…means I know I can do it again if I want to. Also, that I still love writing, even fighting with the clunky bits and the moments of OMG this is too boring to stand. Finally, that I have other stories to tell, not just the scifi novel that I’ve been fighting with off and on since (gulp) 1994. Actually, now that I think about it, I think I have some ideas about how to wrestle the last big section of that to the ground after this experience.

The “snowflake method” helped immensely; I didn’t go all the way through the process, but as far as I did gave me a solid foundation to work from, including a sense of where the story needed to go. Chris Baty’s No Plot No Problem! book was also helpful, as you might imagine for a work written specifically for NaNo writers. The bit that made the biggest difference for me was the trick of writing two lists: stuff I like in novels, and stuff I hate in novels. Just a good reference for things to toss in when I was getting stuck, and for recognizing when I was writing into a bit of bleh. (My story didn’t have ninjas, but bandits are always good in a pinch. Also, freakishly, the inspiration of a scene from The Craft. No, really.)

Finally, a (mostly*) unsolicited incredibly enthusiastic recommendation for Scrivener. I’ve never been especially devoted to any particular platform for writing. I started out with paper notebooks in my childhood, then graduated to a typewriter, then discovered MSWord in college. I’ve written in several different versions of that, plus Open Office; I started this month’s novel in Google Docs. Then I tried out Scrivener and it was awesome. Great mix of a tool for writing and a tool for organizing writing. Was able to import my inspiration bits (art found on wikipedia plus a selection of pictures from flickr) to have handy, the cards are tremendously useful for finding my place and seeing where the overall story is at. I like the fullscreen, and honestly, with as distracted as I get by the shiny shiny internets, it’s good to have a writing tool that can be used w/out a connection. As C noted, I have now pretty much talked myself out of a netbook, and into keeping the old Macbook for the time being. ::sigh:: But I’m loving Scrivener enough to make up for hauling around something a little larger than I’d really prefer.

So, yeah. It’s a novel. Still giddy. Might be giddy for a while. Might not get to sleep for a while, either. 🙂

* I say “mostly” because I did use the special NaNoWriMo trial version, and I’m fully intending to use my winner coupon to buy it at 50% off, and I’m sure the Scrivener folks do the sponsorship thing to get that sort of attention. But they certainly didn’t ask me specifically to try it out!

2 Replies to “this is what 50000 words looks like”

  1. hey, I volunteer to read gently, if you are still looking! CONGRATS on making 50K+!! wooohooo! I made about 10, but it was still worth doing, and I’ll do it again– as you say it shows you what you can do, and kinda puts the fun back into it 🙂

  2. Congrats!!!! I made 3.5 K the first four days … but got too cranky at work trying to shift from wildly creative verbosity to “can I help you?”

    Woooo hoooo 🙂 🙂

    (from a random surfer who stumbles on blogs that say xtracycle, wondering if that was a bike crash…)

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