Friday, December 4, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Wrap Up

Now that the excitement and challenge of National Novel Writing Month is clearly and safely behind us, we can begin to move on. Ah, but not without at least one wrap-up post! So, here I will indulge in, for one last time, the challenge that took -- stole -- occupied -- a good part of my time and thought during November, 09. It was a fun experience, overall, and most importantly, I did something that I never thought I could -- or rather, I knew I could theoretically, but without any messy experimentation.

Let us first take a look at a few numbers. The people that run NaNo recently revealed some general stats on their official blog, so I figured I would follow them with some of my own, personal figures.
First up, we have my accumulated word count for each day, compared with the expected or required amount. You have to write an average of 1,666 and two-thirds words per day (which is usually rounded up to 1,667) to just barely reach 50,000.

As you can see from the graph, I started out on a strong note, with over 5,000 words on the first day, which I was able to build upon for well over a week, always staying well above the required total. The first sign of trouble showed up on the 11th, when I only wrote 83 words. But I recovered well enough and was able to keep my head above the waterline up to and including the 17th.

Then, on the 18th, the head cold that had shown its first feeble signs the day before gave me its full blast, which basically incapacitated me for the entire day. I did nothing but lay around all day, always under plenty of blankies. Hannah laughed at my habit of periodically moving from couch to love seat to bed. (Did I mention how much I love my darling sister?) I am still amazed by how hard this simple cold hit me -- or rather, how hard I took it. Looking back, I am not sure of how bad it really was -- and I think I may have overreacted a little.

Either way, I did not write a word on the 18th, my first zero-word day. And, despite valiant attempts at getting back on track on the 19th and 21st, I followed with zero-word days on the 20th, 22nd, and 23rd -- as the below graph clearly shows.

By the 23rd, I had officially (by telling my mother) given up the challenge. I was over 6,000 words behind, and I figured the climb back to success would be a real pain in the butt. Besides, I thought, I had already written over 32,000 words -- far and away the most I had ever written for any one project; a clear success by any measure.

Less than one day passed before I was right back into it. It was probably the oddest, quickest and most complete reversals of opinion I have ever had. Don't ask me how or why it happened -- though perhaps finally brushing off that nagging cold had given me the energy and spunk I needed. So, despite a weak day on the 27th which I can't really explain, I was able to write steadily to a respectable finish.

That is the story, in pictures and words, of my word count during the thirty days of craziness which some call NaNoWriMo.

I will return, likely on some far-flung date, to the topic of the novel itself, "Henry's Fear." Or rather I will start talking about it -- I have been rather mum on actual, genuine info about the story. But all will be revealed in good time: I am not paranoid or arrogant enough to keep this kind of stuff locked away on my HDD.

It still needs a lot of work, yes, but I am convinced that there is a story there somewhere and I would love to polish it to a shine, and maybe eventually submit to a publisher or twenty. But, for the moment at least, I am content to take a little breather and let the little thing cool for a while.

In the meantime, I've been concentrating on this blog, as well as getting back on track with my reading. I will undoubtedly break 100 books read for this year, which doubles last year's goal. Of course I'm already thinking about 200 for next year: my heart says, "Yes! Please!" while my brain says "Uhm, slow down there..." and my eyes say "Oh, Sh**!"

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