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November 30, 2010 @ 10:31 am

NaNoWriMo Number Seven, and Tools

Yay!!  Win number three, and one day early, no less!  I’m kind of amazed, actually, especially since there must have been a dozen times during the month that I decided to quit.  Some of those times, I was only going to quit this year’s NaNo, and other times, I was going to quit writing altogether, forever and ever.  Which, for me, would be like . . . oh, I don’t know . . . having a face transplant or something.  I wouldn’t recognize myself anymore.  (That’s part of how I knew, deep down, that I was bluffing.)

SS was here from the 24th through the 29th (she left early this morning to fly home), and it was an incredible experience.  She was my coach and cheerleader, and she and Sister shared the role of Brainstorming Buddy for me.  SS even staged a couple “NaNo Interventions” (NaNoVentions?) when my story was beginning to flatline and gasp for breath.  She would start throwing questions out there about scenes she knew I wanted to write or additional layers I wanted to weave into the story.  Sister did the same, all those times I would call her and say, “It just needs so much more, to work”.

This story was different than the first two in the series, because (as Sister noticed; I hadn’t been able to figure out what was so different) in the first two, there was a present danger to one or more of the characters, and in this story, the main character is unraveling a mystery that dates back to 1929.  It’s more about setting things right than anyone being in any danger now, other than a wee little bit of blackmail.  Because of the difference in urgency, it was a little harder to write, but on the flip side, allowed for some really fun twists, and the research was a blast.

I had originally begun with the hope of finishing on the 28th, so that SS and I could spend the 29th together with no pressures before she would go home this morning.  It didn’t work out so well for the 28th, but I really, really wanted her to be there with me when I crossed the finish line, and I’m so glad to have been able to share that with her.  Writing is normally a solitary activity, but the last two years, she’s been right there with me as I wrote, and as I won.  Last year, she was there on the phone, and this year, she was sitting in the chair beside me.  She got to watch me upload my file for the word count on the NaNo site, and then she got to watch as I added 300 more words, as there was a difference of about 250 words in the count between the NaNo site counter and the counter in yWriter, the program I write in.  I uploaded again, got verified, and she was beside me as I was transferred to the Winner Page and collected my winner goodies.

So, this year was an extra challenge because I’ve been getting ready for my move early next year, and in ways it felt harder than last year, while in other ways it felt easier.  Next year will be an even bigger challenge, because we’ll be coming to Florida during November for our wedding/commitment ceremony.  I likely won’t want to skip NaNo next year, though, because if I can win, it’ll be my 4th win and my 8th NaNoWriMo . . . the year I reach a 50% win ratio.  I do suspect that someone will get married in that story, though.  I’m not sure who, since my main character and her best friend are already married, but big experiences in my life like that just seem to creep into my writing, especially when it’s marathon-writing.

This was my last NaNo while living in Florida, and I got to write a few times with my write-in friend.  I hope to get to write with her at least once next year, while we’re down for the wedding.  I’m tentatively planning to fly down a few days or more ahead of SS, since travel tends to set off the Fibromyalgia, and that will allow me time to adjust and hopefully be feeling more “myself” on the big day.

I have some neat tools, to share.  I apologize for not posting them before the last day of NaNo, but someone may stumble on this post when doing some writing during any of the other 11 months of the year, or they may find it during future NaNoWrimo’s.

Tool # 1: I learned about this on the forums of the NaNoWriMo site.  It’s called Write or Die.  I had some fun with it mid-month.

(Update 10/28/16: Apparently the images that I used in this post originally were stored on the Write or Die site and I never made screen shots. Huh. I wonder what they looked like. No recollection anymore…)

11/13/10, about noon:
True, not the 787 words in 17 minutes that I wrote a couple years ago in a word-war at a write-in, but there were far fewer misspelled words and I think a better quality of writing.  If I did the math right, it would equal an average of 1548 words an hour.

11/14/10, about 4:50 PM:
I’d set it for 20 minutes, but I guess it counted the time I had it paused while I was thinking.  It says you can pause it only once, at least on the Normal Mode / Strict Grace Period that I set it on.   I don’t know what the rules are in the other modes, yet.  This one is 1464 words an hour, averaged.

11/14/10, 6:45 PM:
Jumped to 1909 words per hour, averaged.

By last night, I wasn’t counting my average by time, but it seemed like I was at around 1500-2000 per hour, there for a while.  I think I was averaging about 1000 words an hour last year.

Of course, none of those averages counts the time I spend daydreaming and planning and researching, which are also all part of the writing process.

Tool #2: For anyone writing a novel that takes place in the past, here is a place to find a calendar for the year you are writing about: Calendaryear.net

Tool # 3: Ever been writing about a time in the past and wanted to know what the weather was in that city at that time?  Me too!  This one goes back as far as 1940.

Tool # 4: To make sure that a particular word or phrase you want to use dates back to the time of, or prior to, when your novel is set, an etymology dictionary sure does come in handy.

Hope these help someone as much as they did me, this year.

And, one more time: Yay!!  🙂

Thoughts?

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