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NaNoWriMo is over for me, although the actual event continues until 11:59:59 on November 30th. I finished the first 50,117 words of my novel, Raven’s Wings. I’m not done telling the story I wanted to tell so I’ll continue typing away day after day, that’s the nature of writing. When that’s finally done the editing will start. As far as I’m concerned editing is more work than the writing is. When you write you create, when you edit you mercilessly cut out extraneous scenes, even if you loved them because they just don’t work quite right with your story. I won’t be as obsessed with writing as I’ve been during NaNoWriMo. There’s no pressure to turn out 50,000 words a month, thank goodness.  My goal is 15,000 words a month. I should finish the rough draft by the end of January. I’ll post occasional excerpts here. Some of them may not make it into the final draft, but I’ll post them anyway.

NaNoWriMo is an incredible ego booster. You push yourself incredibly hard. I read a post I had written but not published just four days before I finished NaNoWriMo. At that point I had just over ten thousand words to go and it seemed as though I would never finish the 50,000 word goal by November 30th. I had had it. I was ready to give up, throw in the towel and forget the prior 21 days of work. I was sick with a gastrointestinal bug that definitely hadn’t been part of my writing schedule. The holidays were right around the corner. How was I going to finish a book when I was going to lose at least two days, one to the holiday and the other because I was too sick to write.

Then, on the 22nd I hit my stride. I turned out over four thousand words that day alone. I had suddenly gone from needing just over ten thousand words to needing five thousand nine hundred and nine words. It seemed not only manageable, but doable now. I set a goal of 2,500 words for the next two days. Thanksgiving day, after we had returned home from the festivities at my parent’s house I came into my bedroom, which doubles as my office and I typed out the final words to put me over the edge mark at the 50,117.

As I said, 50,000 words didn’t finish my story. I still have work to do, but the majority of the writing is finished. I have a workable schedule for the rest of the book and I hope to edit it and begin submissions before next year’s NaNoWriMo comes around. I will do NaNoWriMo next year and each year thereafter. I can’t work on any existing project, only on new work that doesn’t start until November 1, 2010, but I can plot it out to my little heart’s content and believe me, I will. I winged it too much this year and got lost in the weeds a few times. I have extra garbage I know I have to edit out, but it doesn’t matter I did it.

Hey VISA internet $50, computer $500,  writing and verifying a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days, PRICELESS.

 

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Twenty-five days. 50,117 words. The badge says it all. More to follow after I’ve slept. For now I’m happy, very happy.

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The second week of NaNoWriMo is drawing to close. I haven’t written yet today, but my word count is just about six hundred words short of today’s goal of 20,000 words. By the end of the day I should be almost one thousand words over the daily goal. thank goodness.

Week two has been a bit of a challenge. I was sick one day and didn’t get a single word written, this left me with three thousand three hundred thirty eight words to write the next day. i pushed through and got them done, but it was a challenge. I also discovered that I really liked most of what I wrote. The advantage of being under pressure is you tend to just let the writing flow, which is a terrific thing. It allows your imagination free range, which was terrific. there will still be a lot of material I’ll cut during the revision process, but now my characters are dancing. They’ve surprised me with some of their secrets and their actions, but it’s been a really interesting process.

Week two brings a lot of self-doubt though, why am I writing this?, is it any good?, should I throw it out and start over, am I fooling myself, what even made me think I could write? and a thousand other questions go through your brain. The temptation to go back and edit the raw material you’ve written is strong, but you have to remind yourself the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write without thinking, hence the push for 1,667 words each and every day.

I started off loosely plotting. I knew where i wanted to begin, where I wanted to be in the middle and how I wanted the story to end. Other than I didn’t really plot. What I did do was plot the following day’s scenes based on what I had written and what my characters had done the day before. It’s worked well, although yesterday after being sick the day before I just winged it. A large part of what i wrote I had already laid out in my head. One thing that happened was totally unforeseen, although the cause of the consequence had been laid out in my head since the beginning of the story. I just didn’t plan on my other character reacting the way she did, by leaving him behind. He’s part of the group involved in the quest so I have to figure out a way to bring him back into the story. the funny thing is her reaction was totally natural. I should have seen it coming and planned how to deal with it, but I didn’t. Short sighted on my part, but true nonetheless.

I promised you an excerpt once the characters started to dance so I’m going to follow through with it. Just remember this is raw, unedited writing. It has it’s flaws, it may not flow perfectly upon the page, it may have spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. I’m not editing it for this post. You’ll see it exactly as it’s written. I hope you enjoy it.

“The Owen, that as it drew closer she realized wasn’t really Owen, stopped behind her not saying a word at first. Raven decided to test the waters quickly.

“Darling, you’ve come back. I’ve been warming the blankets waiting for your arrival. Why were you gone so long? Come lie down beside me.” I was something she never would have said to the real Owen, they didn’t have that kind of relationship.

The Owen who wasn’t lowered himself to his knees beside her, but not looking in her direction. That was fine with her. She was relatively sure this wasn’t her Owen, but if it wasn’t then where was he? Would she have to go search the riverbed at night only to find him beaten and broken once again, this time perhaps beyond her help? She grasped a handful of the false Owen’s hair, as if in love play, tipping his face back to expose his neck acting as though she was going to kiss on it even though the bile was already rising in her throat. She reached down and grabbed the knife from near the fire, ignoring the pain as the heat collected in it burned the skin of her palm. She bit down on her lip to keep from gasping. She had held hot knives and pots before when caring for her patients. The pain from this burn was no more and no less than those had been. The difference was the intent, this time she intended to use her knife to harm another human rather than to heal one. The situation made her eyes ache with unshed tears, but she blinked quickly, pushing them away, knowing this was not the time for weakness. Weakness and tears could come later when this was over, now was the time for resolve.

Keeping her eyes focused on this thing’s neck, for that was how she must think of the person in front of her or she wouldn’t be able to do what she had to survive. She leaned in toward its neck and drew her knife across its throat, cutting deeply and quickly severing both the carotid artery and the superior vena cava in one swipe of the blade, her plan to simply harm whatever it was forgotten in the face of two certainties. This thing had come here looking for her, perhaps it had waited until it was sure she was alone to come into camp, but it had come here meaning to take her, kill her or worse, turn her into whatever it was. She watched as in death it’s features grew flaccid and seemed to slid from its face until she wondered how she could have taken him for Owen in the first place.

The tears she had been holding at bay began to fall in earnest as the body fell away from her foul, black blood pumping at intervals from the wide wounds in its neck. The stench was so foul Raven turned her head and began retching as the viscous black fluid clung to her, its smell that of hot acrid vomit. She felt the blood spraying on her and without a thought she flung an arm out shouting “Away.” Without a moments delay the now lifeless body turned falling upon the ground, instead of onto Raven’s lap and body.

Covered in gore, raven rushed around the campsite like a mad woman gathering supplies, leftovers and blankets and throwing them into the two sacks left behind. She quickly kicked dirt over the top of the fire to keep Owen from returning there. Then she threw the sacks and herself onto the mare’s back and headed down to the river to find Owen.”

It’s rough. It’s raw. It needs a lot of editing and you don’t have any backstory to use to put it in perspective, but trust me they’re starting to dance. It’s not a waltz or a ballet, but some day it will be, for now it’s enough that they’re dancing.

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Okay, its Friday of the first full “work” week on NaNoWriMo. Fact is NaNo is a seven-days-a-week  event, but there are five days in the average work week so allow me some poetic license.

At the end of day five I’m about 500 words ahead of the required word count. Tomorrow’s word count will break 10,000. If I stay on goal my word count will end up somewhere between 10,484 and 10,584 words or more than 20% of my NaNoWriMo goal. Of course this is only 10% of my actual goal for the completed novel, but the goal of NaNoWriMo is a 50,ooo word first draft or approximately 175 pages.  I think I must work with verbose authors because other than Stephenie Meyer’s novella and one children’s book nothing I’ve read in the past eight months has come in under 200 pages and most are in the 300-400 page range, which is the goal I have for my finished novel. That means I have to write about 125,000 words to finish my book.

I’m big on character driven storylines. I’m a terrible plotter. I’ve plotted my beginning, my middle, my end and a few key scenes, other than this what I do is I look at what my characters have done that day and before I go to sleep I plot out what I think they should do the next day. Sometimes they surprise me and go off on tangents. Had a character do this yesterday, but it turned out to be a nice tangent so I think it’ll probably survive the revisions and editing, at least I hope so.

I know I promised excerpts but its a bit early in the process for that, the characters and I are still getting acquainted with each other. We’ve shaken hands but now we’re on opposite sides of the dance floor waiting for the other party to make the first move. When we get to actual dancing you’ll get excerpts. I hope they’ll light up your world.

Until then dream big and write with joyous abandon,

Tracy

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NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month which runs all of November, this year I’m participating. The goal is to write a novel of 50,000 words or more. December will be used to edit the novel.

I’m going to try to post weekly updates of my word count and excerpts of my work-in-progress. This way, I add you to all of the people I chose to make myself accountable to for finishing this project. The public humiliation would be overwhelming. I’m asking one thing in return though. I would like you offer me comments to encourage me as the month goes on.

NaNoWriMo novels are rough. They’re off the top of your head crazy writing. Raw. Unedited. I may change something about a character part way through because it just feels better, or it may be a mistake, feel free to point it out if you catch it in my WIP excerpts – another reason to tune in to my posts; you may be the one person who catches an important change in my novel.

At any rate, expect to hear from me sometime between Friday and Sunday of each week for updates. The month starts next Monday so lets hope it starts with a bang. I have to put out 2,500 words a day if I want to be able to take the weekends off. A tall order to say the least. I think with your support I’m up to it.

 

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