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Tag Archives: NaNo14

NaNoWriMo 2014: Final Report

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As NaNoWriMo 2014 approaches its end (or in the first hour of December, does not really matter), I want to review the challenges I set for myself this year:

  • Challenge 1: 50,000 the first weekend.
  • Challenge 2: managing to reach another 50,000 words in the rest of the month, mankind it a total of 100,000.
  • Challenge 3: write the minimum quota of 1667 words every day and not stop half away.
  • Challenge 4: beat 2011 NaNo count.

Score:

  • Challenge 1: achieved.
  • Challenge 2: achieved.
  • Challenge 3: achieved.
  • Challenge 4: not achieved.

I could have made a sprint, I think, to unlock challenge 4, but I decided that it was not really worth it. With a lot going on in my life right now this last weekend I decided to just take it easy and write a bit in order to try and reduce the amount of stress I’ve been suffering. I just decided that adding pressure in order to write the 3,000 extra words I would require did not really pay, so I took it easy this weekend.

At first I had just taken doing the whole thing in a weekend as a half joke, but when I was halfway through Saturday, and thought that I could do it, I started pushing towards reaching the goal. Maybe it was worth it, maybe not. I can not be objective about it, because for me it was. The story kept a fast pace and that was something that made me feel great, because I had been angsting about wanting to write something fast-paced. So it worked and that was good. Houritsu does need a lot of work, but the pace holds throughout the story. Maybe it might even need a bit of slowing down, which is even better.

After finishing Houritsu, I decided to work on Shourai, which is one of my eternal projects. It is divided into four parts, so never mind that the first one is not finished, I decided ot write the second one. Leaving the first one unfinished, go me XD

This places Shourai around 100k, and with two halfwritten stories. Now the question is whether I go back to working on Secrets or not. I am considering going on with Shourai until I run out of steam and then head back to finish Secrets. After all I have as much as I did before November – scribbled notes, as I learnt my lesson last year with what happened to Kokeshi (I kinda forgot the idea throughout November)… So I think tomorrow I shall be writing Shourai again. Or maybe not, but I will probably write something.

Anyway, have some graphs of this year’s NaNo! Some of them become bigger if you click on them too XD

After the first crazy couple of days – I can not keep the rhythm up, I decided to stick to the minimum wordcount and add up on weekends so I could reach 100,000 words.

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In the end, the final wordcount has been 104,522 words, an average of 3,484 words per day. Of course statistics don’t tell you much reality in this case though, considering that… yeah… almost 50% in two days…

In comparison with other years, yes, I did not reach the maximum I have done before, but it does not really matter. Here are the comparisons with other years:

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You can see how 2014 might be the steadiest line, and how it was not that far away from 2011. Considering how life panned out this November, good enough.

You also may or may not have noticed that I am boycotting the Knight-slaying-the-dragon icon. Stop dragon discrimination now!!

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Houritsu, writing report

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Houritsu (法律, law) is yet another yakuza story, and probably the one with the hardest plot I’ve written. It follows Naizen, a member of the Sumida-kai Saitama gang as he seeks revenge for the death of his lover, who was forced to commit suicide following a blunder. He is determined to destroy the gang in vengeance.

Naizen designs a plan so he manipulates different members of the gang into working against each other. He also uses the police to attack the gang in several instances, feeding them information and staging them to raid some of the offices in due time.

Naizen counts with the help of an idealistic young yakuza, Arata, and the boss’ ambitious daughter, Eiko, who resents the male-inheritance rules. In the end, the ploy escapes his control, causing unexpected results.

I was quite impressed with how the plot developed, at least I did manage to keep a fast paced story, maybe it did come out a little too fast, and might need an extra 10,000 words on characterisation, especially on Naizen.

It was interesting to write from an omniscient narrator, as I have not done that for years, and never for such a long story. But the mission was accomplished, and I did write something that finally felt fast-paced!! That makes me happy, even if I know that revising it is going to be a lot of work.

Why and How I decided to write 50,000 words in a weekend

Participant-2014-Twitter-Profile

I started toying with the idea of NaNoWrimo in one weekend a couple of weeks before the start. As I am not an excessively social person, I find myself having a strange relationship with NaNo, I don’t really get that “Community feeling” many talk about. There are some people I enjoy talking to and meeting sometimes, but that’s it. No big “this is OUR thing” kind of feeling.

Furthermore, there is something I really dislike about NaNo and that is the whole public wordcount thing – and people who feel the need to make you feel guilty for… basically writing more than they do. Let me start saying that I am perfectly aware of

  • The fact that I don’t have the highest wordcount in the world
  • The fact that I am not the best writer in the world
  • The fact that I am perfectly aware that writing 50,000 words in a weekend just makes me a fast typer

However, I am aware of the fact that I can be very constant and that I can type fast, probably faster than the average person. And that sure as hell have a capacity to sit down in front of the computer and write for 8 hours straight that other people don’t have. Does that make me better in any way? Absolutely not. Other people can run marathons. Go admire them (I do!).

And I hate that I feel myself getting defensive about this even now, but if there is something I dislike about the whole NaNo experience, is feeling like I have to apologise for my wordcount. Should a marathon runner apologise for having more endurance than me when he is running? No. Then neither should I.

Anyway, the point of this is that writing 50000 words in one month, even with my messy crazy life is not really a challenge. I can do it. I knew I could do it before I did NaNo the first time. I keep hoping that the companionship spirit kind of thing kicks anytime, but it does not. Last year I did it ‘as fast as I could’… except not really. I took long hours ‘off’ on the first of November, and I wrote 20,000. I could have written more, but was procrastinating around for 4 hours.

I started thinking, though. Could I do it in a weekend? 25,000 and 25,000 in just two days? Well, there was a way to find out, and this year there was a weekend and two free days.

The first thing I did was allocating sleeping time: (six hours from three to nine AM), and two hours for lunch and dinner, for “non writing time”: 2 • (6 + 1 + 1)= 16 hours of non-writing time, therefore 48 – 16 = 32 hours of writing time.

I did the calculation in words per hour (wph):

\frac{50000 words}{32 hours}=1562,5 \simeq 1563 wph

For me, 1563 words per hour are doable, how many times in a row, that was the question.

I built a table stating which wordcount I should have by the end of the hour and I got on with it, however during Saturday I always tried to write ‘a bit more’ to have some wordcount buffer. I also wrote some during lunch and dinner. The last hours of the evening were the hardest ones, so at some point I did some rearranging so I could go to bed earlier and catch a few hours more of sleep (two, actually, which in the end I did not sleep through). I finished Saturday at 27874 words and went to bed about 15 minutes later with 28052.

Starting Sunday, the new goal was around 1600 words for the first hours of the morning in order to have fewer words to write after 7 PM which had been tougher the previous day, but I managed to do some good pulling during the morning (coffeeeeeeeee), so I was able to gradually reduce the amount of words which were needed per hour. Once again I did some writing over lunch and dinner time and I clocked in the story and the wordcount around 21:40 at 50,050 words. You can see the whole progress by the hour on the other post regarding the insanity.

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Hourly wordcount (left) and cumulative hourly wordcount (right)

I do have to admit that I was pressed at a couple of points because I was running out of plotpoints and had to improvise, and that took some time out of writing, and added some ‘tension’ to the whole thing. I really miscalculated my outline though, I was hoping it would be good for 60,000 words.

As I have mentioned before, Houritsu is not the best story ever. It has terrible typos and general… NaNowriting (aka NaNoisms), so no, this is no instant bestseller. But NaNoWriMo 2014 held my own personal challenge and that was it. I found out that I can write 50,000 words and type out a complete draft all by myself, in two days, and you know what? It felt good, and I am not going to apologise for anything, because it would be stupid to do so. It is nothing wrong. I can do this, other people can do other things.


NaNoWriMo in a Weekend was kindly sponsored by:

NaNoWriMo 2014: Houritsu

Participant-2014-Twitter-ProfileFor this NaNo 2014 I had the idea of doing something a bit crazy. As my average week, as Efficient Times mentioned, I don’t have much time through the week, so… considering that I had a two-day weekend, would I be crazy enough to… do NaNoWrimo in 48 hours? It was impossible, right?

The first thing I did was set up a plan on how many hours of sleep I needed in the 48 hours, cooking and eating time, and divided 50,000 words between the remaining hours. The number was short of 1600 words per hour. And that I had done before. Now I only needed to do it 32 times. In a row.

I had an Xmind scheme, four pages of squiggled plot, unlimited supply of snacks, coke, sweets and choc (no trick or treaters. Their loss)

The final scheme is not as neat as my original idea but… somehow it worked out and as an additional surprise, the plot is also finished within the amount of words written.

Now, I am not saying that Houritsu is a masterpiece, but it is written. It is an old plot that I had had running through my head for a while and that is finally black on white. And I think that with a lot of revision can be good. And probably that is the spirit of NaNo.

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Wordcount per hour

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Cumulative wordcount per hour

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And after this, I’m off to put my hands in cold water. Maybe I should just do the dishes…

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I’ll talk about the story another day, too.