Monday, 16 November 2009

nanowrimo roundup: tastes like victory

So - I finished Nanowrimo.

November is known and feared by writers as National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to write 50,000 words during the thirty days of November. It's the month your caffeine and/or sugar intake spikes as you stay up until 4am every night cranking out wordcount: a month in which your life is ruled by the inexorable march of the target line on your wordcount graph.

Some smart friends of mine introduced me to Nanowrimo back in 2004. Nothing is more useful to a beginning writer than a track record of finishing novels, and I finished my first one on the 21st of November 2004, less than a week after I turned sixteen. Had to trunk that novel (and the next), and I crashed out of most of the following Nanowrimos, but I've had a ton of fun and met a truckload of people through Nanowrimo - starting with my dearly beloved writing group. So I scrambled to finish and send out my beta draft of THE INFERNAL FAMILY, dug out my stalled-at-30k epic fantasy IRONBANE, and hit the trail on the 1st of November.

On the fourteenth night I finished Nanowrimo, and on the fifteenth I finished my novel. So I'm distressingly smug right now, and also grateful to:
  • All the friends who cheered me on, especially the Bristol and Bath Nanowrimo team who kindly tolerated my gloating at the write-ins.
  • Auburn, who kicked my ass with her massive wordcounts, taunted me when I fell behind and took my eleventh-hour victory with grace.
  • My wonderful betas, such as Amy Bai, who sent me brilliant feedback during the most insanely busy month of the year for writers.
And a final roundup with lots of lovely numbers:
  • Hit 50,000 words on day 14.
  • Total wordcount on day 15 = 53166 ...
  • ... of which 27294 words were written between day 11 and day 15.
  • Total wordcount for the entire novel = 86680.
  • Daily average = 3544.
I've pictured my wordcount graph here for your amusement. Blue line is daily wordcount, yellow line is cumulative target, red line is running total.

The pretty colours in my wordcount graph are suggesting to me that I've built up a lot of momentum that it would be a shame if I wasted. So I plan to start a project that's been waiting patiently for over a year for me to find time and confidence - my YA urban fantasy, DREAD MACHINE. I have time, I have confidence, and I also have a secret weapon: the twifties. I know I'll be in good hands as I flail around with my first YA novel.

I can only hope that my fifth novel will be as easy as my fourth. :)


  1. WOW. Just Wow.

    Awesomeness runs in your veins.

  2. Para, you are an amazing writing machine.

    Wow! Congrats on finishing!

    And yay for starting your YA novel :)

  3. Wow. Good on you. I've been a bit slack lately. I wish I had your motivation.

    And good luck getting 2 done in the one month.

  4. Congrats you word-addict. *smile* I am the slowest of slow writers so I have never been able to put mroe than 10 K into a Nano novel. 50 K in 14 days in insane.

  5. Thanks for kicking me in the butt and encouraging me to pick up the pace a bit. It was truly an honor to compete with you and even to lose to you. There's always next year though...