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Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo Update: Day One

Words Written Today: 2,385
Total Words Written: 2,385

Here we go again!

So welcome along to National Novel Writing Month 2010, wherein I attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. It's also now about the only time my blog gets updated on a regular basis, so stick around. I'll try and update daily with my word count for that day and the total amount of words written so far. Yes, I know an obsession with word counts seems crass and anti-intellectual, but to be frank it makes for a wonderful motivational tool. A shit-spewing motivational tool, to be sure, but an effective one nonetheless.

In case you're unfamiliar with the whys and wherefores of NaNoWriMo, I direct you to their website (currently struggling under the traffic it seems):

In short, it's a great way to blow out the cobwebs and get you writing, regardless of quality. To dismiss the activity as a waste of time because of the focus on quantity over quality is a mistake: as a tool for learning, any writing is good writing. Furthermore, if only 10% of what I write this month is salvageable in some way, or at least passable, then that's 5000 words of decent prose I will have written. More importantly, as happened last year, I may come out with the kernels of honest-to-god Good Ideas.

So, where am I at? Well, last year's novel still sits mostly unrevised. I began revisions on it earlier this year, but fell off the wagon in a big way. I still have all the coursework from the novel revision lessons I was doing, and I fully intend to go back and pick up again next month.

This year: well, to be honest I was feeling a little shaky about it. I had promised myself I wasn't going to do fantasy again this year. It felt like the lazy option, and I really did want to push myself to write something different. Not too different, as it transpires. I've gone for horror this time around, another genre which I know the tropes of fairly well. I'll admit it it: sometimes in NaNo when you're not going in with a detailed plan you've got to take the lazy story option. I didn't really have a clear story going in, and one didn't coalesce until I was sat having a coffee this morning. I guess it has actually coalesced to some degree, so won't be a total seat-of-the-pants affair, which puts me ahead of my first effort in some way, but I'm sure a few familiar story beats will creep their way in as I struggle to keep the words coming.

On the positive side, I am quite happy with the rough idea I have. Without giving too much away at this juncture, it involves a mid-19th Century transatlantic liner, ghosts, and Satanists. Probably.

And how was the first day? Well, firstly I have to once again praise my little EeePC 2G Surf, the trilobite of netbooks and among the most reliable, hardy pieces of technology I've ever bought. Especially considering the hammering I've given its keyboard; if you've ever heard me at a PC you'll know I'm a fairly forceful two-finger typist. Small, hard-wearing, lightweight - what netbooks were always supposed to be. Oh sure, I'm damn near out of storage thanks to XP slowly eating up the 2GB internal SSD (I originally had a stripped down install that came in at around 800mb, and now have around 70mb free), but it has some word processing legs yet. Just might be time to switch back to something Linux-flavoured.

Anyway! Other than the usually tough first 400-500 words, I was pleased with how easily it went today. It was my day off, which gave me a fairly relaxed time frame to get things done, and most of the writing was done in a Nero through the middle of the day. It was nice to rediscover that great pleasure that comes with writing material you enjoy, in this case a journal-narrated prologue whose tone draws in no small part on Arthur Conan Doyle's Captain of the Pole Star. Okay, it seems to be taking a little too long to get to the point, but I'll try and rectify that tomorrow.

So we're off! Tomorrow is a work day, so I'll be settling into the early morning/lunchtime routine which worked fairly well last year. I'll let you know how that works out.


  1. Anonymous7:31 pm

    Yeah! You are writing! Hooray!

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