NaNoWriMo – Winner!

Winner-Congrats

I reached the magical 50,000 words this morning and have to admit I felt a mixture of emotions when the final winner’s screen popped up in my browser, seconds after copying my manuscript into the word validator.

There was relief I’d finally completed the task I set out to do but also a great sense of achievement. I’d set myself a goal, a challenge if you like, and I had succeeded. Believe me there were a few times when I wanted to give up!

So what have I learnt from this years NaNoWriMo?

  1. Perserverance, undoubtedly! Just stick with what you tasked yourself to do despite those voices in your head. Keep your mindset positive and focus on getting those words onto your computer screen.
  2. Ensure you prepare. It’s not just what you do during the month, but also the days or weeks that precede that. I’m a planner and I need to know what I’m going to write about. This involves having a synopsis and some outline character profiles which I can develop as I write. Of course, you may be a pantser in which case you can forget all that!
  3. Plan your writing schedule! Decide when and where you’re going to write. Review your diary, there will be dates where you know you just won’t fit it in. Ensure your daily word count goals reflect this.
  4. Even as a planner, you will find a need to alter the direction of your storyline or review your cast of characters. I thought my synopsis was detailed but several inconsistencies were noticeable as I progressed my writing. Don’t worry too much about it as these can be sorted out in the revision process. There were also a couple of characters who I gave bigger roles to in the story. Other characters developed as the story progressed and I began to understand their motivations more clearly, if that makes sense?
  5. It’s only a first draft! Don’t beat yourself up over what appears to be garbage yo’re typing onto the screen. Some of it might be, but some of it won’t be. It’s a first draft, no one is going to read it unless you want them to. Some of it you’ll keep and a lot of it you’ll either omit or revise. You’ll even add more to it as you think of about it. That’s what the revision process is all about. Remember, without a first draft there is no revision process and no finished work!
  6. The second week was the hardest for me. I really felt I was wading through a quagmire and could of given up on more than one occassion. This goes back to my first point, perserverance. But it does get better!
  7. Is it a good method to write your first draft! It did work for me. The challenge of writing so many words was daunting but gave me the motivation to atually end up with something tangible at the end of the process. It is certainly a method I will try again!
  8. What happens now? For me, I’ll be putting the first draft aside. For how long, is up to the individual. I’ll take another look mine in the New Year with a view to starting an initial revision process, but I may leave it a little longer.

It’s been a worthwhile endeavour and I’ve achieved something at the end of it as well as learning a lot about myself in the process. Here’s to next year!

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NaNoWriMo – Day 21

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Day 21, and it’s been a good third week of NaNoWriMo.

Week two was a bit of a grind, to be honest, but week three has been much better. I’ve kept to my daily personal target of 2,000 words and have managed to churn out 42,484 words. The end goal of 50,000 words is well and truly in sight!

I should end up with a first draft and this will give me a good manuscript to work with during the revision process. There will be detail to add, delete and revise I am sure, but I am more confident now that I can turn this particular writing project into a finished article.

The synopsis I will redraft to iron out minor flaws and inconsistencies I have come across whilst I have been writing. I also need to work out individual chapter contents and structure. Finally, I’ll revise the character profiles as I have developed some of the characters as I have written the draft. This will help the revision process to ensure they stay within character and not go AWOL!

Hopefully, all downhill from here! Wish me luck.

Horace
A draft cover for NaNoWriMo, but not the final one.

NaNoWriMo – Day 14

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Two weeks into NaNOWriMo and I’m still here writing! These last few days have been tough, though.

I’ve kept on track with my 2,000 word daily target and have reached the grand total of 28,236 words! It was a big incentive to pass the halfway mark (so I kept telling myself!) but it’s a long downhill stretch from here.

The book I’m writing is a fiction title. It’s about a man called Horace. He’s just retired and has all these plans for retirement. A structured plan, but all that changes on the morning of his retirement party. There … that’s  the teaser!

I wasn’t sure about this story, hence the reason the synopsis has been sitting around on my laptop for some time. I didn’t really know whether I had the enthusiasm for the characters and the storyline to finish it. Anyway, I decided I’d give it a go for this year’s NanNoWriMo. The more I’ve written, the more enthusiastic I have become about the storyline and the characters.

What I thought was a fairly detailed synopsis, probably isn’t. I am finding some flaws in the plot line which I’ll need to address, but my focus is in completing a first draft of all the scenes. After that I can focus on tightening the synopsis and being comfortable that the characters’ actions are consistent with how they should behave. And then comes the revision process …

But first I need to see out this month and get this draft finished!

NaNoWriMo – Day 10

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Well I’ve reached Day 10 of this year’s NaNoWriMo. A third of the way through and I’m still writing! What’s more I’ve managed to keep to my ambitious daily schedule of 2,000 words taking me to the grand total of 20,212 words to date.

I thought I had a fairly robust plot outline but I am finding a few holes in it as I write my story. I’m not too worried at this stage. I suppose if I wasn’t taking part in this initiative I’d go back and rethink some aspects of the outline before continuing. But I can do that later as I still have plenty of scenes to write. I’d rather focus on competing the first draft and look at any revision to the manuscript when I start that particular process.

This is my first fiction attempt and I have been quietly entertained and amused by the way some of the characters seem to have a mind of their own. The storyline has changed as a consequence.

I kow it’s going to get harder as the month progresses but it’s certainly given this particular writing project of mine a kickstart and the incentive to get it finished!

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Day 7

I’ve just finished writing for Day 7 of NaNoWriMo and so far I am on track, having kept to a personal daily word count target of 2000 words. My word count to date is 14,174!

It’s been a big challenge for me so far and I know there’s still a long way to go. However, it’s been a good start! I’ve structured my daily writing by aiming to complete a minimum of 500 words early morning before breakfast. This leaves me with another 500+ words to achieve during the day and finally finishing my daily goal in the evening. Spreading it out this way gives me plenty of time for breaks and physical activity to recharge my batteries. It also means I can take some days out during the course of the month if I stick to my goal.

I did have a fairly detailed synopsis planned out at the start together with character profiles. However, whilst writing the first draft I am finding the need for subtle plot changes and shifts. Parts of the plot lack sufficient detail and require further research. The research, I have decided will be done after the first draft is completed otherwise I would fall into the trap of diverting my attention from my main objective of finishing the draft. I have also resisted the temptation to go back and revise parts of the draft that I know I will have to make changes to. 

Finally, as I have got further into the story I am finding the characters start to take over and drive the story. I even have one character, who I had given a small part to, but will now be extending his role. He’s such an interesting character and will add to the story interest.

That’s it for now. I’m off to relax and listen to some music before starting in earnest again tomorrow!

Impossible Love

Here’s a flash fiction short story I wrote a while ago and a competition winner to boot!

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I like the way she talks to me. She always says “please” and “thank you”. It shouldn’t really matter but it’s nice she does.

It was 12 months ago when I first came to work for Sarah and Tom. At first she ignored me. Maybe she felt threatened that I was taking over. That seems logical. Gradually she treated me better when she saw how efficient I was with the household chores and the free time it gave her.

It’s only recently that I’ve started taking more notice of Sarah. How she dresses and how she looks. Sarah goes to the gym and keeps her body well maintained. Lately I’ve felt different inside when I’m around her. She sees me looking at her sometimes. I can tell from the look in her eyes that she doesn’t mind. When she looks at me and smiles I feel good. I don’t know why.

Sarah is married to Tom. I don’t care for Tom at all. He’s always rude and arrogant to me and criticises most things I do around the house. He calls me “Robocop” and kicks me when Sarah’s not there. I don’t think he likes me being alone with her.

“Robbie can you come here please,” she calls. Tom’s at work.

I make my slow deliberate way to her room. I’m eager to get there but in my own time. The blinds are closed and a single corner lamp lights the room. I’m apprehensive. I shouldn’t be but I know what she’s going to ask.

“There you are Robbie. I just wondered which outfit I should wear for lunch out today. What do you think?”

She’s wearing the blue patterned floaty dress that I helped choose from the online store. It suits her just fine. Very well complemented by those long blonde flowing locks. I find it hard to describe what I’m thinking. Somewhere deep inside I have a strange warm feeling. I do care for Sarah. I stand there seemingly mesmerised and hesitant.

“Well Robbie?” She looks at me expectantly. I can see a mischievous expression on her face. “Come on you know I value your opinion.” She’s flirting I can tell from her exaggerated pose. I look her up and down again. I shouldn’t really. I don’t know what’s wrong with me… Or maybe I do.

I know there’s no hope for me and Sarah. Aside from our physical differences there is Tom to consider. I know she loves him despite his faults. I only wish I could get these thoughts of Sarah out of my head.

I’m sure I was given the wrong logic board on my last maintenance service at the workshop. I recall seeing a faulty board next to mine when the engineer was working on me. Maybe they’ll fix it on my next visit. I do hope not.

I turn my attention back to Sarah.

NaNoWriMo

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I’ve taken a little time off from Horace over the last few months and as a consequence I’m way behind the deadline I set myself for that first draft.

So to try and kickstart myself into action I’m taking part in the yearly National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) initiative. The objective will be to complete 50,000 words during the course of the month of November which will be a heck of a challenge for me. It won’t get me quite back on track but should go along way towards my original timescale expectations for the project.

I’ve taken part in this initiative before and whilst I’ve never achieved the 50,000 word target it certainly is a good way to get you motivated. Joining some of the forums means that you can share your woes with other participants. Definitely recommended for the budding writer!

Wish me luck!