52,627 and nanomore to come..

It has been a fantastic 30 days. I never expected it to turn out the way it has. I started the month with a germ of drug addled inspiration and two paragraphs that i was quite proud of but never thought would lead anywhere. I’ve ended with a beautifully typset 52,627 word manuscript, with footnotes, appendices and even a bibliography.

I feel I can say I am a winner..

But dear reader, I cheated ! I came into the final day with more or less 47,300 words written, needing to fit another 2,700 around a 9-5 day at work and 2 hours of classes in school in the eve. I got home and could not face a mad scurry, so merely pasted in three thousand words I had written sometime ago. (Stuff from elsewhere on here in fact.) Once the pressure was off I did actually manage to type another 2,000 this eve. But it does not matter either way.

For one, rules are there to be tested. And for two, even if I had written a few more words today that would not have made it a novel. It has a beginning, a middle and an end (and footnotes and a bibliography) but there are large gaps scattered through out. Big holes that ought to be filled. That is to say, it is very drafty. (For one thing, it needs more bad puns.) But it is a 50k first draft that thirty days ago did not exist.

And it is (in my opinion) good enough that it is worth the effort of finishing it in its current form, and working carefully through to make it more like a real book. This is just my opinion, but since it is also me who knows what I am aiming for and that will be doing the work, my good opinion is the main pre-requisite.

So, sorry to say, that there is not much to show you at present. The mad sprint is over and now I am settling into my pace for a long and steady trudge. Still, in the last month I have learnt something the art of writing and the task is no longer so daunting. (There really is no secret ‘technique’ to writing. It is just a case of sitting down for long periods of time with your pen moving across the paper.)

Other than the book, this is the best thing I have got out of nano. I wrote the two short paragraphs that turned into the prologue on january 5th this year. They just came to me pretty much as you see them there. They read like the opening of an intersting story and, filled with the good intentions of a newly begun year, I intended to add at least something everyday of the year. On january 6th I could not think of any reason why that poor man was at the top of the hill. All through January, he was stuck there, both of us confused as to how he got there. I did not add another word for months. These were the original 160 words I had been planning to start with. On 1st november I couldn’t think of a way to use them.

But it was not until the 8th or 9th November that I saw that they could be the opening to this story. Serendipitously, they would be the perfect opening to this story and that man was just the character I needed to make the thing into a novel not a diatribe. That was just one of the pleasant surprises that I’ve had.

One other thing that changes in the second phase is that I no longer have to worry about the total number of words, I have enough to fill a book, I just need to make sur to fill it with the right ones. I can add, I can take away. I can throw this damn thing away.

You will see from the long flat sections on the graph that I was not always writing. Well..

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Those long flat sections represent the very important descision not to let dull old writing get in the way of old fashioned fun.

Oh, one final thing, Thanks to the nanowrimo team where ever you are!

About caspar

Caspar is just one monkey among billions. Battering his keyboard without expectations even of peanuts, let alone of aping the Immortal Bard. By day he is an infantologist at Birkbeck Babylab, by night he runs BabyLaughter.net
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