Monday, December 2, 2013

The Escapades of NaNo 2013

It’s December.


Can you believe it? Because, frankly, I can’t. I’m kind of in shock that we’re here at the last month of the year.

I love December though. Cool days, the thrill of one year ending and another soon to begin, CHRISTMAS—December has all sorts of exciting things revolving around it. Including. . .


NaNo 2013 Banner

That’s right, NaNoWrioMo 2013 has officially ENDED. This has to be the fastest NaNo in history. Although, this whole year has been zooming by like a ninja!

To choose one word for this NaNo I think I’d have to say: FANTASTIC. This Nano was simply wonderful! I think my first NaNo still wins as my first favorite, you just don’t forget that magical first NaNo, but this one definitely comes in second. I honestly had the time of my life!

More Green than Envy Book CoverBefore this NaNo even began I was in great anticipation for it. I just had a feeling it was going to be a great one. Except one thing worried me, I was a bit lost on what was to happen in this particular book. As I’ve mentioned before, for each NaNo I write the next book of my Colors of a Dragon Scale series, and each book follows different characters. So, even though it is one series, every book has completely different characters and locations, making it feel like new each time. When I first came up with this series to start for my first NaNo back in 2010, I spent that September and October doing some serious plotting. I wrote bios for every character that would be in each book, made a map, did quite a bit of world building in general—that was the first time I ever actually plotted out anything so thoroughly. As a result, I had a general idea of what each book would be like. Every year before NaNo I outline whatever book I’m doing that year. So, even though for my first NaNo I did all sorts of planning, I only outlined the first book. Then for the next NaNo I outlined the second book that October and so on. For the most part, though, I kind of at least have a vague idea of what events will play out in each book. Except More Green than Envy, this year’s. For some reason, even though I did technically have bios for Darven and Leiden, I never knew much about these two dragon riders, all the other dragon rider pairs were more dominant in my mind. How these two got pushed so far back, I really have no idea. I guess they just weren’t ready to tell me their stories yet.

So even though I was greatly excited about this NaNo, I was a little nervous, because it was Darven and Leiden’s turn this year, and I was at a loss on who they were or what kind of adventure they would be having. But NaNo was coming up and I had to be ready. On October 1st, I sat down and started messing with their bios, which needed some serious help being as how I wrote them three years ago. Once I began redoing their bios, I started getting to know these fellows, and, slowly but surely, their story was piecing together.

By the second week of October, I was ready to start an outline for the story. That’s when things really began to burst forth. Usually it takes me a bit of time to put an outline together (being a natural pantser, thoroughly planning out stories like that is difficult for me) but in just one week I had the entire thing finished. Ideas soared, secrets were revealed, drama unfolded, and next thing I knew I had a whole story ready to be written.

Once November 1st finally came around, I was about to explode. My fingers were ready to fly across the keyboard and get this story written. And, oh, what fun I had! I already suspected I was going to enjoy it, but I had no idea how much. When I first started writing once midnight hit on October 31st, I knew, after just a couple of paragraphs, that this story was going to take me on quite a ride!

Darven and Leiden, my two main characters, proved to be two of my favorite people I’ve ever made. After tweaking their bios, writing the outline, and making a couple of blog posts about them, they had already wormed their way into my heart, but I never get to really know my characters until I’ve genuinely written them, seen them in action, read their thoughts, felt their emotions. Writing out a bio just with facts about them doesn’t reveal their true being to me. But after writing the first page of More Green than Envy I knew, these two would forever have a special place in my heart. Once I stopped writing that first night and went to bed, I couldn’t wait until morning to really delve into their story.

More Green than Envy Signature

The first day wasn’t quite as magical as I had hoped. I got in the most words out of any day of the month on that first day, but it wasn’t entirely easy. I kept having to push myself to keep writing. I think it’s hard for me to write beginnings. Trying to find the “voice” of my characters, describe everything that’s happening, open up the story—it just feels like a lot more work than when I’m farther into the story and have my characters figured out and the story into the more exciting bits. So the first day of NaNo, though nice, was a bit tiring. But by the second day I was past the very beginning and really starting to get into things. That’s when everything really took off.

From there things just got better and better. With every passing day, I became to love Darven and Leiden more and more, to the point where I started referring to them as “my boys”. Every day I woke up itching to begin writing their story that day. I loved spending the majority of every day with them. Darven and his quiet, elusive ways and Leiden’s perky, talkative self were just too much fun.

It wasn’t just the characters that kept my writing though. The story itself kept me on my toes. This honestly is the most intense story I’ve ever written. I don’t know why, but I tend to enjoy writing the more dramatic, heartbreaking scenes than anything else (what does that say about me?), and this story hardly had a chapter without something traumatic happening. One would think I didn’t love my characters at all due to all the things I put them through. Whoo. It was a pretty emotional book. But it kept me interested from beginning to end, even if I may have shed a tear or two. *cough*

As a result, I fled through it. In fact, I did something I never ever thought I’d manage to do in one month. I finished it.

All my other NaNos always ended up with me still having quite a good chunk of the story left to write by the end of the month. I always have to spend a fair amount of December and sometimes even through January trying to make it to “The End”. But somehow this one was shorter than the previous books, and on Monday, November 25th I hit 113,868 words and “The End”. I was a bit in shock. Never have I finished a book so fast. I did not suspect I’d finish it before NaNo even ended! At some point I did sort of kinda wonder if it would be possible to finish it by the end of NaNo. I saw it was going faster than the others books, so just wondered, but I figured I wouldn’t actually manage it. But I did. And I was so excited!

But then I had a problem. Before NaNo even started I promised myself I’d write at least 2k words every day of November. I did this during the last two NaNos and wanted to keep it up for this one. But. . .my story was done! I had five days of NaNo left with nothing to write. The logical thing to do was to stop there. Thanksgiving was coming up, I had a busy week ahead of me, there were a million and one things I’d abandoned for NaNo that needed tending to, it would be a good thing to just stop there. I mean, I finished my story. Of course I should end NaNo.

Nah!You Should be Writing 10th Doctor

The OCD in me refuses to let me back down on my goals. I made a goal to write 2k every day in November no matter what, and if I didn’t fulfill that goal my OCD self would get extremely upset, even though I finished my story. So on Tuesday, I sat down and spontaneously started a short story. I did have a very busy week, so I just barely got in that minimum of 2k every day instead of pounding on the keyboard every day like a mad monkey like I had for the other parts of the month. But I was still having fun, except a part of me was kind of sad I wasn’t writing about Darven and Leiden anymore. After spending 25 consecutive days with them, it was a bit difficult switching over to something different.

It was all going well though, until Saturday, the last day of NaNo, when I write 1,052 words and next thing I knew I was at the end of my short story. But I still had 1k more words I needed to write that day! Just 1k more and I could be done with NaNo. So there I was again, with another finished story, and still needed words.

Thus I pulled out The Sign of the Shy're, which I only had the first chapter written in, and so started the second chapter, getting in another 1,623 words that day, and thus ending NaNo with a nice 125,075 words.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Wordcounter (125k)

That was a first. Writing three entirely different things all for one NaNo. The last week of NaNo was quite an adventurous one. It was a very weird week for me. But I enjoyed it, even if I did go a little mad. Heh. Actually, I had a lot of “firsts” this NaNo. I broke all my previous NaNo records.

-I hit 50k in 8 days.
-I made it to 100k in 21.
-I finished my novel before the month was even over.
-I ended with 125k words for the whole of NaNo.

All of which are things that have never happened in my previous NaNos. My 4th NaNo was a success!

NaNoWriMo 2013 CalendarI always put together a calendar for each NaNo to keep up with how many words I write each day.

I might go a bit easier next year though. . . o_O

I mean, I do always tend to go a bit insane during NaNo, but this year even broke records of insanity for me. I was literally living and breathing my NaNo. Every minute of every day. Even sometimes in my sleep. It was all NaNo! And you know what? I had FUN. So much fun! What a ride!

This NaNo will forever hold some of the dearest memories for me. Although there’s always something special about every NaNo. That’s why I love NaNo. Sure, it’s hard and tiring and stressful, but it’s an adventures. Every adventure has its hardships, but isn’t it worth it? Going on that journey, finding new things, beautiful and terrible, and making it to the end where we learn even the hardest of times were all worth it. That’s what NaNo is, a journey. With each NaNo, I discover something new, learn more about writing, and go on a journey I’ll never forget. Even if it is hard, it’s so, so worth it!

So here’s to NaNoWriMo 2013 for taking me on an adventure I’ll never forget!

NaNo 2013 Winner Badge

If anyone has seen my sanity, could you bring it to me? I’m not sure it ever returned after I threw it off a cliff on November 1st.


  1. Haha! Lauri, I loved every bit of this post!! You amaze me every NaNo with your climbing word counts, and I really enjoy reading everything you write about your crazy months! :)

    I'll look for your sanity, but I can't promise anything, as I'm still out looking for my own.

    1. Oh goodness, thank you! I always fear everyone gets sick of all my NaNo talk after a while. XD I just am so focused on it during November I never have anything else to talk about.

      Hope you can find it. I fear mine may be lost forever.


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