NaNoWriMo: Week 3 Report

Tonight marks the close of the 7th day of NaNoWriMo 2011.

So, I have just completed week 3 of this craziness. I had every intention of doing a week 2 report, as well, but I just didn’t have time. You’ll see why in a moment. After day 7, I had 44,717 words, less than 6,000 words shy of “winning” NaNoWriMo. Here are my individual story word-counts as of midnight, November 22nd.

“A Is for Anchor” – 10,574 words – incomplete – Magic Realism
“B Is for Bard” – 10,092 words – incomplete – Fantasy
“C Is for Clowns that Creep Through the Yard” – 5719 words – complete – Horror

“D Is for Dragon” – 6,369 words – complete – Fairy Tale + Humor
“E Is for Egg” – 4,975 words – complete – Science Fiction
“F Is for Fangs that Are Sunk in Your Leg” – 9,039 words – incomplete – Science Fiction

“G Is for Gravesite” – 2,204 words – complete – Fantasy
“H Is for Haunted” – 5,309 words – incomplete – Horror
“I Is for Investigation: Unwanted” – 6,627 words – incomplete – Urban Fantasy

“J Is for Jackpot” – 3,069 words – complete – Dystopian Science Fiction
“K Is for Kiss” – 3,191 words – complete – Fairy Tale
“L Is for Lucky for a Hit or a Miss” – 3,219 words – complete – Dark Fantasy

“M Is for Moons” – 3,378 words – incomplete – Science Fiction + Fantasy
“N Is for Nocturnal” – 4,151 words – complete – Erotic Fantasy
“O Is for Oath of Service Eternal” – incomplete – Fantasy + Humor

“P Is for Prey” – 3,630 words – complete – Science Fiction
“Q Is for Quest” – 1,557 words – incomplete – Fairy Tale + Humor
“R Is for Ritual Performed as a Test” – 4,598 words – complete – Dark Fiction

“S Is for SkullCosm” – 3,872 words – incomplete – Science Fiction
“T Is for Talents” – 3,622 words – complete – Dystopian Science Fiction
“U Is for Unicorn Imbalance” – 1,826 words – complete – Dark Fantasy

If you add in the 617 words of “Fangs” that I wrote and then crossed out because I had chosen the wrong part of the story to start at and the 1527 words of “Nocturnal” that were an interesting science fiction idea that I could not make work before I changed it to Erotic Fantasy, that comes out to a grand total of 101,066 words as of today.

Here’s what the intervening two weeks of writing fast and furious to get to this many words has taught me.

  • Write through writer’s block. For the first seven stories (the first week), I had definite ideas (minus Anchor). When I sat down to write most of them, I knew the characters, plot, and world, and all I had to do was sit down and let the words out. It was actually fairly easy. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed writing so much as I did that first week. But then for Haunted, Investigation, Kiss, Moon, Prey, Quest, Ritual, and SkullCosm, I had only the vaguest notion of what the story was. At most I had a notion of character and a glimmer of a world. But I sat down at the keyboard and I just started typing, going with the first thing that popped into my head, inventing as I went along. As I went, I was forced to make decisions, and those decisions forced me to make others . . . and then before you know it, I had character, plot, and world. Do I love these stories? Not all of them. :) I think all of them are good ideas, and with a little work after NaNoWriMo, I may be able to pull a better story out of them, and you’ll notice that a lot of those are incomplete. But the important part is that I didn’t let not having a perfectly formed story stop me. I went with my original ideas and made them work, and I look forward to finishing the stories.
  • Butt in chair. For Jackpot, Lucky, Nocturnal, Oath, Talents, and Unicorn, I had less than no idea when I sat down to write at the beginning of the day. Not even the words for all but two of those. But I let my subconscious work on it, and each time, a story sparked. It’s interesting that of these most recent 14 stories, my favorite six are Jackpot, Lucky, Nocturnal, Oath, Talents, and Unicorn.
  • Trust your instincts. For Nocturnal, my first glimmer of an idea was involving Nyx, the Greek personification of the Night. I did a lot of research on her, but the story kept turning into erotic fiction, and I couldn’t figure out the POV. So I abandoned it and forced another interpretation, which I then tried to write. I got 1527 words in and said, “No. This isn’t working. This isn’t what I want to write.” So I scrapped it and started over using my original idea of Nyx, but told from the POV of a man she picks up from a bar. I’m not comfortable writing erotic fantasy, but apparently that’s what I needed to write, because that’s what came out. And other than the very last paragraph or two, I really like it.
  • Two—or sometimes 17—heads are better than one. I needed help on some of my ideas and I enlisted friends to help me out. I used names suggested by my Facebook friends in Dragon. The entire idea for Fangs came from a friend on LiveJournal. Kiss got its twist from yet another friend who made a typo to me in IM while trying to help me out. For Ritual, I used many suggestions from my friends on Facebook, although never in quite the way they probably intended. :) Not only did my friends make direct contributions by coming up with angles I wasn’t seeing (I need to work on that, clearly), but merely opening up for that to happen seems to have gotten my own creative juices flowing more.

I’d like to stress one thing in relation to the first point above. “Writers Block” doesn’t mean you don’t have ideas. It means you don’t have ideas that you can work with right now. Or at least for me, that’s what it means. I had plenty of ideas for, say, the letter J, but nothing that worked for me until a tiny voice in my head said “Jackpot” and showed me the entire story from beginning to end.

That’s pretty much it for weeks 2 through 3. I typed this mostly because I need to keep all these points in mind for the upcoming week. I have nothing at all for V, only a faint glimmer of a world and situation for W(itness), zero for X(enogamy) and Y, and then the beginnings of a notion for Z(ombie).

I can’t wait to see what I come up with. :)

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2 Responses to “NaNoWriMo: Week 3 Report”
  1. StoryChuck says:

    Awesome productivity, Gary!

    I can’t wait to read some of these stories.

    • I plan to put “D Is for Dragon” through the group soon, and possibly “G Is for Gravesite,” “J Is for Jackpot,” “L Is for Lucky,” “C Is for Clowns,” “N Is for Nocturnal,” . . .

      Okay, probably most of the shorter ones that actually have endings I like. :)

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