Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I won. . . sort of. . .

It's a long story (no pun intended). Nanowrimo finished last night - of course, for Nanowrimoers in America it's still going, but last night was my last chance to finish off and win. Well - I reached my 50 000 words. I knew that there was sometimes some discrepancy between word processor word counters and Nanowrimo's official word count 'verifier', so I went a little over 50 000, just in case.

So. . . I went to verify my manuscript on Nanowrimo, and it said I had reached a grand total of. . . 48 599 words! Now, by this time it was nearly 10 pm, past my bedtime, and I was getting very tired and cranky! But according to Nanowrimo, I still had another 1400 words I needed write in order to win. I was not prepared to stay up until midnight, madly scribbling away! As far as I was concerned, I had reached my 50 000 words. Open Office - my word processor - said that I had, and if Nanowrimo said I hadn't, then that was its problem, LOL! I had FINISHED my novel! There was nothing else I could add to it - nothing else that I could think of to say.

I felt so disappointed! I almost wanted to cry. I felt cheated, so I cheated right back. I copied and pasted a couple of paragraphs in my manuscript a few times over, so that I reached the 50 000 words (according to Nanowrimo), then I entered that in, and 'won'.

I still felt really disappointed, though. Next time (if there is a next time) I will definitely be checking my word count on the Nanowrimo word counter, not just on my word processor.

But - I reached my goal! I wrote a novel - in one month. Earlier this year, I came up with an idea for a story. I started writing, and got to about 5 or 6 pages. Then after that, those pages lay semi-forgotten in my desk for months. . . until I decided, on the spur of the moment, to give Nanowrimo a try.

So, if it wasn't for Nanowrimo, I would never have gotten my first novel written! So I suppose it was worth it after all, even with all the stress and craziness.

I also discovered a thing or two about myself as a writer. I found out that I write much better at night than during the day. I don't know why it is, but the creative juices just seem to flow better between 7:30 pm and 9:30 pm than at any other time of day or night! So - in future, I might simply not bother about writing during the day, and instead just do an hour or two of storywriting in the evening. Most days this month, I would struggle all day, and end up writing only 500 words or so. Then after dinner, I'd sit down and write 1500 words in an hour or two!

And I discovered that it is generally not advisable to attempt to write a romance novel - no matter how squeaky-clean it is - if you yourself have never really been in love! It just ain't a good idea! I was talking about this with a friend a few weeks ago. She said "Just use your imagination!" A good point, I suppose. After all, my novel is set in the 1790s, and I have no experience of living in 1790s England - I had to use my imagination for that, too! But. . . but. . . thing is, whilst no-one living today has lived in 18th century England, most people have some idea of how it feels to be in love! So anyone reading my novel will immediately go, "Hm. This was evidently written by a silly, romantic, teenage girl, who had no idea what she was talking about. . ." :P

So - next time, I think I'll give romance the flick, and instead write a. . . I don't know. . . I might try fantasy. Not a big fantasy epic - I wouldn't be able to handle the battle scenes for one thing. Boys are good at that sort of thing, girls, not so much. . . So, not an epic adventure, just something small and quirky.

As for my Nanorimo novel - it is a very, very, rough draft! I haven't let anyone - not even my family - read it yet. Maybe after it's been through a second or third re-write, it might be presentable enough to show to someone. . . as it is, there are at least 3 or 4 characters that I'll probably get rid of, and many pages of rubbishy dialogue that I'll have to cut out. Also, I'm not even 100% sure about my plot. . . I might change some of the plot points, and some of the character names.

But for now, I won't be doing any re-writing. I intend to leave it well alone for a few weeks or months, and then come back and read it again, from a more objective viewpoint. The only thing that I'm worried about is that, if I leave it for a while then read it from an "objective viewpoint", I'll probably be so appalled at how BAD it is, that I'll abandon it forever.

Well - whether my poor novel ever sees the light of day again or not, at least I wrote it! It was probably a good experience for me as a writer, and as a person.

So - thank you, Nanowrimo! And I credit my family, Yann Tiersen, and Facebook for getting me through the experience. My family for being patient and forbearing, Yann Tiersen's music for relaxing and inspiring me, and Facebook for providing a vent for me to voice my frustration whenever I got stuck with my novel. Pity my poor Facebook friends, who had to put up with all my complaints of writer's block, and of how slowly the word count ticks over. . .

And finally - it feels so good to discover TIME again! Time to watch movies with my family, time for baking (there have been no cake or biscuits in the house for several weeks now!), time to read (yay!), time to go for walks, time to relax!

And hopefully, time for blogging! ;-)


Grace said...

Good on you!!

I can't wait to read it. (That is if you let my read it)

Izori said...


I found that the NaNoWriMo word processor counts words that are joined by a dash (i.e. 'well-meaning') as one word, while at least my computer counts it as two different words. That might have been why the word counts were so different.

lissa said...

that is about NaNo count, it usually counts more for me than my text editor, I suppose there must be differences none of knows about

anyway, congrats on finishing your novel, I think it's actually quite hard to finish, let alone in a month

Miss Jordan Elizabeth said...

You finished a novel?!?! Wow, that's great.

I probably should go on some sort of unofficial intensive writing period to finish my novel- five chapters in two years.

Words flow at night for me too. I annoy my family with it sometimes. Dad will come by at 11:30 pm or midnight and I'll still be sitting at the computer, typing away. "Are you going to bed tonight?" he'll ask. "Probably not" I'll reply vaguely.

Well, all this to say congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Good on you, we are so proud of you!
One blessed Mother

Theresa said...

YAY! I'm sending one huge big high five over the tasman to you! - well done!
Don't worry about your tinkering with the word counts, open office tends to muck things up. It usually mushes two words into one when you copy/paste so don't worry!
As the the story quality, don't be too picky, I think it's easy to be really picky about your own work. Let some family members have a read so that they can give a really good objective look at it. :)

oh, and happy holidays - from now on you're free!

LadyBug-Laurie said...

Horray Elise! Good for you! You finished a novel in one months time!
I envy you a bit. I only made it to about 5ooo words got very distracted and also started writing on another story. Between work and travel somehow I knew writing would not work but I still wanted to try. Oh well.
I agree with you about writing love stories. Mine was to be a historical romance of sorts too. I keep debating whether or not to end my story right before my heroine discovers what true love is for herself. It's hard when you've never been in love. :)
Good job in persevering! You made it! :)

Miss Jen said...

Congratulations~ dear Elise!!!!! :)
How wonderful... what an

Love in Jesus~ Miss Jen

trustintheLord said...

hi, well done first of all! i can see the next book study book, can I read it, pleeese? I didn't get a very big story I cheated too lol. I know what the feeling "I have time again" is like, beautiful isn't it?


Vellvin said...

Dear Elise,
50.000 thats a lot of words.
I did NaNoWriMo for the first time as well the typing part was the hard part for me. I wrote it in a notebook first and then typed it up with some assistance from Saxon cause he had a enough of me writning I can't comment on Graces blog or Naomi's blog coild you tell me why please Elise?

The Editrix said...

Thankyou so much, everyone, for your congratulations, and for all your encouragement this past month! It really has spurred me on and helped me to pull through this! :-D

Theresa - oh, and happy holidays - from now on you're free! - yeesssss!!!

Vellvin - that is odd, I have no idea why it would be doing that. :-(

silent_librarian said...

Hello fellow Nanowrimo novelist! I would encourage you to think of this passed month in a more positive light and take it as a time of practice. Essentially that is what it is. Just as pianists have to spend hours a day going through scales or an artist has to do multiple sketches, so a novelist must write lots of words! Hehe! Nanowrimo is forcing you to sit down and just write. It isn't going to be anything near good (unless someone has this amazing natural talent), but that is what other months of the year are for. I can see how disappointing it was to have the validator say you were under 50k, but word processor doesn't lie. I think that validator is messed up because every year I have done it, it has given me extra hundred words or so, no matter what. Yet I hear from my friends that it always takes away words. Something not right there, but I would have totally done what you did, copying and pasting extra paragraphs. It isn't cheating, because you did get 50k. It was just troubleshooting. ;-)

You won! You totally won! And you actually completed a novel, which is far from what I can say. I told myself that this year I was going to finish my novel for once (I always just get half way! 50k is hardly enough for me to tell a story! haha!), but I was two chapters shy of the end. It was Thanksgiving day that messed me up. Still, I got well over 50k anyway, so I am happy.

Anyway, congratulations and now it is back to normal life. :-P

The Editrix said...

Thank you so much! I feel a lot better about it all, now :-) Yes, that's probably a good way of thinking about it - as writing practise.

Autumn said...

dear Elise.
Well done!!!!
I did the young writers division of Nano and I finished it . But, I lost november!!!

Anna Maria said...

Well Done! Great Work! I'm sooo happy for you. I would love to read it if you would let me.

The Editrix said...

Congratulations, Autumn! :-)

Anna Maria - Thanks! :-) Sure, maybe when I've cleaned it up a bit. It's in bit of a mess at the moment, LOL. . .

Enbrethiliel said...


Congratulations! I am green with envy! =) Anyone can start a novel, but it takes character to finish one. You rock, Elise!

Rebekah said...

Good job and congratulations on your perseverance!

I write better at night or in the early morning most of the time too. I have been writing my novel for a year and a half now ... One day, I'll finish - I actually hope to finish soon. I agree with you about writing romance though - I don't plan to have any of that in mine. Someone might get married but I don't plan to document emotions or anything.

Congratulations again! :D

To the KING be all the glory!

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"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15