Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Well, That Was Unexpected a.k.a My NaNo 2015 Adventures


NaNo 2015 Banner

Let me tell you about my NaNoWriMo. We’ll start at the beginning, well, before the beginning. The prologue if you will.

October hit with all the excitement and cheer of the NaNo season. Time to plot and get pumped up for a month of too much coffee consumption and mad writing. So, with anticipation, sometime during the beginning of October I sat down and began my usual chapter by chapter outline for my NaNo novel. This particular NaNo I’ve been waiting for since my first one basically. Because this NaNo was going to take all the previous books, which had separate characters on different adventures, and throw them all together. It was surreal to me that I had actually made it this far with this humongous series I started in 2010. Naturally, I was quite ecstatic about it.

Once outlining started, my excitement doused a little as I realized how utterly overwhelming this book would be. So far, each book only followed two main characters and a single adventure. But this one would follow ALL the characters with a dozen different side plots and things. How was I going to manage this?

“A chapter at a time,” I told myself. So I forced myself to do it, took a few walks in the midst of October when I got stuck with the outline, and finally, near the end of the month, had a full outline set in place. I was a bit worried though. This story was meant to have a bunch of character reunions and fun things, but all the characters kept deciding to go off in different directions and just so much was happening. But no matter. This was a first draft and I’d write it and see how it went.

The main fear I had was the length. Usually I keep my outlines to 30 chapters and hope the book stays to that. But this outline was 36 chapters. I braced myself for a long book, knowing ahead of time I’d most likely have to continue writing during December even though I really, really wanted to finish it by November. With so much going on and extra chapters than usual, it was probably going to be one of the more lengthy ones. But no matter, NaNo approached. I was ready and utterly excited for my favorite time of the year. Bring on the NaNo!

Finally, on the night of October 31st, midnight hit. . .

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the 2015 NaNoWriMo begin!”

MLP Let's Do This GIF

The first few days were magical and wonderful and I got many, many words in. “This NaNo is going to be great!” I thought to myself, so happy, on such a writing high. Hopeful for the future. “I’ve totally got this.”

By about halfway through the first week, life started to get a bit busy and cut into some writing time. “No matter, I have the whole month ahead of me. What are a few busy days? I’ll just write even more next week.” Ah, such an optimistic Christine.

My words were going up well enough, but we have to remember this crazy, overachiever that obviously has no value in sleep or sanity decided on a double NaNo. 100k instead of 50k. Because why not? I had managed it all the years before all right, even though my life was so much quieter then. I mean, this would be the first year I actually had a job. Bah! It’ll be fine. I’d find a way to work around it. Plus, all my books were usually 100k or longer and I wanted to finish this one quickly, so it needed to be done.

But then week two happened. Oh, week two. . . That time I told myself I would write even more words. Stay on top of things. Ahead even.

Hahaha. Haha. . .hahahaha. . .ha.

Can I even describe week two? Not really. It resulted in some health issues in the family, spending the night away from home for most of the week, work, getting my car stuck on these steps on a horrible uphill driveway, and only four to five hours of sleep every night.  Did writing happen? I tried. I tried so hard. And I did manage in a few words each day. But amidst the stress, exhaustion, and all around distractedness of a busy life, my motivation took a downward spiraled plummet to some dark, dusty corner of my brain. My sarcasm had an enjoyable time that week as I often told my family, “This NaNo sure is going well.”

Looking back at my other NaNos, I had so many more words during them at this point. The thought was a discouraging one. It was after this week that my late night competing with myself post came to being.

I was determined though. Even if it killed me (which it was trying to do really, really hard), I was going to survive this NaNo and win.

That weekend, things looked up again. I was home and finally had free time. I burrowed in my writing cave and poured my entire being into my book. Suddenly, with free time and quiet days and not intense amount of stress bogging me down, writing was fun again. Once I emerged from the cave, I felt good about NaNo once more and had crossed to that oh so exciting 50k mark.

NaNo 2015 Stats Page

Fantastic. Buuut, you still have another 50k to go, Christine.

Right. >.>

“Okay, you can do this.” (I talk to myself a lot, if you haven’t guessed. Give myself pep talks and motivation. That’s not weird is it. . .?)

Pass 50k and onward.

The third week was so much calmer than the complete, ridiculous insanity of the second. The words were really coming in again, quick and smooth. Almost. . .too quick. Never in my life had I written chapters so fast. I was counting down those chapters day after day, getting nearer and nearer to that 36 that would mark the final one.

By the time I had 30 chapters all wrapped up, I just kind of sat in astonishment. Only 6 chapters left? Could this be true? A faint glimmer of hope that I might actually finish this thing during November flickered in my mind. But surely not.  NaNo was only halfway over. Besides, these last chapters were pretty in depth, they’d probably be longer. I still had a ways to go.

With this decided, I dismissed the hope and trekked on.

“Huh, that chapter went by fast.” “Look at that, I’m already finished with this one, too.” “Oh! That one is done?” “Wait. . .I only have three chapters left? Really. . .?”

When week three neared its end, that hope made an appearance again, and this time I didn’t entirely shoo it off. Could I, was I, going to really do this? But I wasn’t even anywhere near 100k. How could this book with so many characters and plots and more chapters than the rest be ending so much sooner? Was this even real?

By the end of Sunday, November 22nd, I stared at my manuscript. My manuscript that had only two chapters left. By Monday afternoon, only one.

Monday night, November 23rd 2015, at 11:00 p.m., I wrote the last sentence of More Black than Night and finished the 6th book of my Colors of a Dragon Scale series. With 36 chapters and 76,700 words exactly.

Um.

WHAT?!?!?!

I literally just kind of sat there in shock. It didn’t feel real. This book that I had known since October I’d probably still be writing in December. This book that had SO much going on and would be a monster, most likely well over 100k. This book that I had no time to even write in during November. Done. Finished. The End.

To sum it up. . .

I FINISHED MY NANO NOVEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NaNo 2015 Winner Banner

If you can’t tell, I’m really, really, really, reeeeaaaalllllyyyy excited. For multiple reason. First of all, finishing writing a novel is one of the most satisfying, rewarding, best feelings in the world. Second, I only have ONE more book to write in this series I’ve been working on for 6 consecutive years. JUST ONE.  Thirdly, this NaNo took a lot out of me. I don’t regret it a single, tiny bit. I adore NaNo and it made me find time to write even when I didn’t have time, which is such an important skill for a writer. But knowing I’m finished and can finally breathe (and sleep) again is a huuuge relief.

But one of the biggest things that excites me is that this is my shortest novel I’ve ever written. Yeah, a nearly 78k is my shortest. Sad, I know. But I thought it was going to be huge. I didn’t even know if I’d make it to the end. And instead it was my shortest novel. This excites me because I think I’m finally learning how to pace novels. Pacing is one of my biggest writing weaknesses. Usually I dwell on scenes for far too long. But this time, I just kept it moving forward, and that’s why I was able to finish it so quickly. That was basically my mantra for the month. “Keep moving forward, keep moving forward.” I knew if I wanted to finish, I couldn’t linger on scenes for pages on end. I just had to follow the outline and keep it moving at all times. As a result, I wrote my shortest novel. I mean, I may look back at it and realize the pacing is crazy fast and needs to be slowed down. I could have instead broken my pacing problem in the other direction. Sounds like something I would do. But who knows, maybe by the next book I’ll have figured out how to keep it in that nice place between too fast and too slow.

It’s always a learning experience, NaNo. Every book, really.

More Black than Night Book CoverThe real question here is, do I like my book? I do, though I have a few misgivings. With the stress of the month, I didn’t give it as much of my attention as usual. Life was its rude self and distracted me from really pouring myself into it. So it’s definitely a rough draft. I also think I outlined it too fast. Again, Life. >.> After a while I realized I should have done things differently. It’s not quite as big and epic story-wise as I had hoped, and I only left myself even more to wrap up in the final book instead of tying up some loose ends like I meant to so I could focus on the main main plot for the last one. BUT this series is really just an exploration. By the time I rewrite it, it’ll be so different all these books will hardly matter. Except they’re still a key element. Because I’ve learned so much about the world and characters and overall plot. There have been so many surprises along the way. I’ve discovered what I like and don’t like. I know now better how to handle certain elements. These drafts are disastrous and horrifying with inconsistencies and plot holes the size of the Titanic all over the place, but because of them I’ll one day hopefully be able to write a series worth reading. I will never regret taking the time to write these first drafts.

So did I enjoy my 6th NaNoWriMo? Absolutely. It was the most stressful, sleep deprived, ridiculous NaNo I’ve ever experienced. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

One more book to go, guys. ONE MORE. The next NaNo is going to be amazing. But good grief! Why would I even be thinking about next year’s NaNo already? O_O Getting a bit ahead of myself. . .

If you’ll excuse me I’ll be sleeping and taking a long break from writing until at least January.

Okay, now that I’ve apparently written a whole other NaNo’s worth of a post here wordcount-wise, I want to hear from you! How is your NaNo going? Any surprises along the way? The end is LESS than a week away, you epic NaNo’ers you. ALMOST THEEERE!!! *screams and cheers and waves pompoms* Everybody is doing so amazing. KEEP GOING! Also a very happy (early) Thanksgiving to all my fellow American peeps. <3 Hope everyone’s week is a blessed one!

26 comments:

  1. LAURI. I finished my nano on Monday too! It's not quite 50k, but I got the end of the book and I'm gonna add some random scenes to reach the 50k before the 30th. BUT WE FINISHED ON THE SAME DAY, THAT'S SO AWESOME.

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    1. Oh my goodness, you did? :O We finished on the same day??? AAAHHHH!!!! That is the BEST. Congratulations!!! Eeeeee! I'm so excited. :D :D :D

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  2. OH MY GOODNESS ASDFJKL CONGRATS CHRISTINE!!!!!!! That is so amazing!!! O_O It sounds like you've had such a crazy, stressful NaNo, but you made it! Just...just...there are no words for the awesomeness that is you. *flails and throws cake haphazardly*

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    1. *flails with you* Aaaahhh, THANK YOU! It was definitely a stressful NaNo, more so than any of the others. But I still loved it and am so glad I pushed through. Thank you so much for always encouraging me. <3

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  3. CONGRATULATIONS OF FINISHING YOUR NANO NOVEL!!!

    Finishing a novel is one of the best feelings in the whole world. I myself have only experienced that feeling once or twice... but that's my fault. I am notorious for procrastinating. Also, I like to sew, and that hobby likes to worm its way between me and my writing. ;)

    Congrats again! :D

    ~Lizzy

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    1. THANK YOU!!!!

      It so, so is! Oh goodness, I'm a procrastinator, too! That's why I have to do things like NaNo or set my own personal goals, otherwise nothing would ever, ever get done.

      You sew? Oooh, that's awesome! I wish I enjoyed sewing. I tried it for a while, but just didn't have the patience. So shameful. It's a wonderful skill to have!

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  4. Congrats Christine! I don't know how you do it. To me 50,000 words is so hard to reach, and while I'm not doing Nano. I am struggling just with the last 5,000 words of my Roogle Wood Press entry. I'm inspired by you though, I will do it! :D

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    1. Thank you so much! Lol. Mostly I ignore life (or try) and get super obsessive and don't sleep. It's quite horrid, really. I should prooobably learn how to balance things. ;)

      D'awww! That is the sweetest thing. ^_^ I KNOW you can do this. And your story sounds amazing and MUST be written. So keep going! You've got it! *cheers*

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  5. YAAAAAAY CONGRATS!!!!!!! :D Woohoo! Wow....how do write like 100k-word novel? :P my stories always end up on the shorter side. At 43,000ish words so far, this story is already the longest thing i've ever written. WOOHOOO!!!! I'm hoping to finish my story up today or tomorrow. And then I can finally read books again and catch up on Agents of Shield and turn into a little vegatable. :P

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    1. AAAAHHH, THANK YOU!!!

      I honestly wish I could write stories that length! Mine just keep going and going and going and I'm like, "End already!" Which is why I was so excited when this one did end way quicker than I expected.

      That is so exciting!!! Congrats on nearly finishing! (Or already finishing by now?) You've done so amazingly. Oh man, yes. I understand that. I am so happy to have time to read and catch up on my TV shows again. NaNo is great but...after NaNo is also great. ;)

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  6. Congratulations! All those words! All those shiny words! Don't you love it when your wordcount ends up shorter than you expect?

    I'm at 41,000 words (plus the 22,000 word Part 1 that was written before NaNo), and I'm only about half-way through the book, so far as I can tell. It's been interesting, considering that, although this is the book's 7th or 8th draft, it's so unlike any previous draft, it's like I've never written it before. I'm quite enjoying it.

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    1. Thank you so muuuch!!! <333 Yesssh, all the wooords. Oh goodness, yes! It very rarely happens though. Lol. This time was the most surprising. I just was not expecting it to be so short. I'm just thrilled!

      Aaaahhhh, that's so great! Keep writing, girl. You've gotten in so many words!
      Oh wow. I admire your dedication to your books. o.o I've barely gotten to 2nd drafts, much less 8! YOU are amazing. I'm so glad you're enjoying your story. I just know it's fantastic!

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    2. This is my only book that has had this many drafts. Usually I just stick with two or three. But this is the book that I've been working on since I was 10, so it's had some time to morph and grow and completely change. (Also, please note that only four of the previous drafts were actually completed.)

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    3. I still think it's amazing how hard you've worked on it and how long you're sticking with it. I bet it has been so fun watching it change and grow through the years. ^_^

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  7. LFKJSD;LFKJSDLKFJSLKFJ
    LAURIIIIIIIIIIII
    YOU'RE AMAZING
    YOU FINISHED AND IT'S 76K AND YOU'RE DONE AND I LOVE THIS POST AND I'M SO EXCITED AND AND AND LET ME HUG YOU
    *HUGS YOU*
    ALSO HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I HOPE YOU HAVE THE MOST FABULOUS ONE OF EVER. ^_^ I KNOW I'M SUPER THANKFUL FOR MAH LAURI! <3 *HUGGLES*
    SORRY I SEEM TO BE STUCK ON CAPSLOCK
    JUST
    VERY EXCITED
    YOU'RE FANTASTIC AND BRILLIANT AND AWESOME AND AMAZIIIIIING!!!!! ^_^

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    1. SDLDFKJHDSFJ:DSHGFDN:DJSF
      I HAVE NO WORDS.

      THANK YOOOUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <33333333 Let me hug YOU! *tackles and never lets go*

      Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Just make me feel all warm and fuzzy and smiley inside, why don't you? YOU ARE THE SWEETEST. And without a doubt one of the biggest things I'm most grateful for.

      LOVE YOU!!! <3

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  8. Oh my gosh, congratulations on finishing your novel! That's so exciting!

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    1. Thank you so much!!! I am very, very excited. ^_^

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  9. After such a stressful time, finishing must feel even better than if it came easily. Of course, having rushed things along will mean a harder time of revision (I speak from very painful experience), but you know where your story's going now, right? And you still won, though wow, it was tough.

    I finished on Thursday night; my story decided to be almost exactly 50,000 words long, which was very nice of it. I don't know why the rest of my family took the news of my winning so calmly, really. Well, my sister assumed that my finishing meant I'd proceed to spend every minute of the rest of my vacation with her. I was certainly excited. My first NaNo and I won, and I'm stuck in my storyworld and can't get out of it quickly, and it's a messy first draft and. . . well, I still wrote 50,000 words in 26 days and that doesn't happen very often.

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    1. I've thought of that as well! I feel SO satisfied and even more relieved to be done this year than the others. Whew, it took a lot out of me.
      Lol. That's for sure! This whole series is a DISASTER. But, really, these drafts are just exploring it. I'm going to change the series so much once I do start revising it'll probably not even matter what shape these first drafts are in. They're mostly guidelines for when real rewrites happen. ...If that makes sense.

      AAAAAAHHHH!!! CONGRATULATIONS! :D :D :D *throws confetti* That's so fantastic! And how awesome your story was polite and ended almost just at 50k. Hahahaha! I understand that. My family is always relieved when I'm finished so I'll start spending more time with them again. XD Congrats again! I am so, soooo excited for you!!!

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  10. GIRL. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW HUGELY EXCITED THIS MAKES ME. EEEEEEEK!!!!! :D :D :D

    Firstly, wow, I feel like I've been on a wild ride just reading about your Nano experience! Such a contrast from one week to another. (And how DID you manage to get your car stuck on steps??)

    And secondly: wut. o.o My Christine wrote a 77k novel? I was fully expecting another huge story, considering the previous Nano books, but my goodness! Not that long stories are bad--not at all--and I loveth your writing so much that more of it is a welcome thing--but what you said about learning pacing . . . klasjfalsjfalj. I'm just so excited to hear about the way you're advancing! Girl, I just have this feeling that awesome things are in store.

    But back to this post. YOU FINISHED YOU FINISHED YOU FINIIIIIIISHED!!! Congratulations! And you finished ahead of time, too. Woohoo! *throws confetti and exclamation points* Seriously, if we were face to face, I'd probably be jumping around and squealing with you. XD

    Okay. I'll stop blathering on. (I just can't stop because YOU FINISHED and More Black Than Night sounds AMAZING and YOU'RE JUST AWESOME and--okay. I'm done.)

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    1. *FLAILS AROUND SCREAMING* YOU ARE PRECIOUS. THANK YOU!!!!

      It WAS a wild ride for sure. o.o Oh man, the car. Hahaha. It wasn't a big thing, exactly. This is a driveway that goes way downhill. So when you're at the top, you have to drive down it backwards, which is kind of hard enough. But then on the right side of it is concrete steps and the other side a hill, so you have to stay right in the middle. It was night, and I couldn't see well annnd...hit the steps and got stuck. >.> Thankfully Dad was there and fixed it, and it's been a common thing with this driveway, but I was still very unhappy with the whole thing. Heh.

      I DID!!! I'm still in shock. Especially with THIS novel, that I was just sure was going to be huge. Possibly bigger than any of the others since it features all the charries and such. But it finished, and I'S SO HAPPY. Aaaahhhh!!! THANK YOU, TRACEY.

      I FINIIIIISHED. And you're reminding me how excited I am. I'd probably be jumping around and squealing with you. Hehehe. You are so the best!

      This comment made. my. day. Week! THANK YOU AGAIN. <333333333

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    2. *FLAILS AROUND SCREAMING WITH YOU* D'aww, you're so welcome!

      Yikes, I wouldn't enjoy a driveway like that very much. Hilly places in general make for interesting driving experiences... Wisconsin and B.C. are two places I've been where I'm quite glad that my dad is the driver. XD (Living in the prairies, the only hills for me to drive are the cloverleaf turn-offs on the highway.) But thank goodness for a dad to get you out of that scrape! :)

      It's just so EXCITING! Heh, now I wonder what will happen with next year's Nano. Is it really truly going to be ginormous (being the conclusion and all), or will it defy your expectations again? *wiggles eyebrows* I guess we'll see...

      <33333

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    3. They do yes, and we've got a lot of hills where we live so...it's something. I'm glad you don't have to deal with them much.

      I've wondered the exact same thing! I feel like it WILL be at least longer than this one, and I fear it'll be super long, but who knows anymore? I thought this one would be a monster as well. XD

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  11. Congratulations! :D :D :D I'm so glad you did it! I finished NaNo on the 18th at 54K and a grand total of 58K from some pre-NaNo writing. This is also insanely short for me. XD I'd think it would be longer with all the POVs, but it's definitely going to grow in the rewrite.

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you!!!

      AAAAHHHH. GIRL. You did so amazing!!! Congrats! :D
      Yeah, that's the great thing about having a shorter first draft, you can expand it without worrying about trying to keep the word count down. It allows for more room to do what you want I would think. I'm just so happy for you!

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