Wednesday, December 4, 2013

So What Exactly Does It Mean?

Greetings Kind Reader,

(Can you believe it - I'm posting and it hasn't even been a month since my last post...what is the world coming to? Me posting 2 times in the same week - did we go back in time to 2009-2010 when I lived and breathed posting here at WASWR? Or is this one of the first signs of a Zombie Apocalypse?--{Do Zombies Read--oooh, that would make a GREAT book---I call dibs! It's mine I tell you...MINE!})

Some of you who've read WASWR more than once or twice know that when I'm not blogging, I'm writing my own work, reviewing books/posting reviews, or I'm editing the work of others. But last month (November 2013) I did even more by taking on something called NaNoWriMo. What's that?

It's the National Novel Writing Month challenge which has been occurring in November for the past close to 10 years (I think - but this was my 1st time taking the challenge and I only did it because many of my writing friends were doing it and I figured 'what the heck!') I joined a couple of days late which meant, apparently, I was already way behind because the 'goal' of the project is for folks to create a brand spanking new novel in 30 days that's at least 50K words (yes, 50,000 words - apparently that's a 'magic' number that is considered 'the low end' of a novel.

I had an idea (a steamy romance, which isn't my typical genre - but I don't like to be pigeon holed as this genre or that genre, so I decided with NaNoWriMo I'd step out of my writing box...with is more like a 3D writing dodecahedron because if I get bored with one genre, I'll skip over to a different one, until I get bored with that one - I think it keeps the cobwebs from getting to thick in my noggin!) that I'd written as a short story many years ago and had put to the side thinking maybe one day, I'd get back to it. And so that's what I did. I got back to it and I took a short story that was about 17K and not only hit 50K but I more than doubled it at close to 102,300 give or take a few hundred.

I guess that means one of two things...
A: I'm way too obsessive about making sure I 'hit the target'
B: I'm way too competitive - since the only person I was actually 'competing against' was...myself!

How's that? Well, with NaNoWriMo - you don't actually have your story online for others to read - you write a synopsis and provide excerpts and you copy/paste what you've done into a 'word count verification' system that literally tallies up your words...but doesn't keep what you paste.  So, as I said, the only person I was competing against was little ol' me.

So, November 30 comes along and at 11:50PM, I uploaded what I'd done up to that point into the Word Count thingy even though I wasn't technically 'done' with the book - I'm still not 100% done as I'm still editing it. At 12:01AM on December 1 I went back to the site and saw this stuck on my little .jpg image of my cover (which one of my friends did for me for free - which was super nice)

It was pretty neat seeing the nifty gold/blue button/ribbon on my cover but I wasn't really sure what it was for. Until I realized it wasn't really for 'winning' in the way that someone typically thinks of it - as in competing against another person. Rather it was simply a way to show the world (well, actually just the NaNoWriMo world - who couldn't actually read the book because it's not actually ON the NaNoWriMo site that I had a personal victory and had been able to do what about 2/3s of all the people who take on the challenge cannot do - it could be closer to 3/4s of them, but I'm not going to go run to read the stats right now. Let's just say 10s of 1000s of people enrolled in the challenge and only a relatively small portion met the goal of 50K.

I also noticed something interesting the people who 'won' either squeaked in right at 50K OR they were like me and went crazy doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling their word count totals. There's actually one person who has done this for a few years and started out at 111,111 words, the next year he got 222,222 words, and this year - yep, he or she, I can't remember right now made it exactly 333,333 words.

That's not being personally competitive - it's just dorky - (but if you're the person who happens to be the 'I'm so awesome I'm going to kick it up a 100K+ notches every year' don't take it the wrong, wait...there's no other way to take it because it really is just dorky. Seriously, who in the world goes, I'm going to double my word count each year (Although technically, he didn't 'double' the word count  because if he had he would've gone from 111,111 to 222,222 to 444,444 to 888,888. Right?) Besides, I have to wonder about the quality of the story if that's their goal -- to (pseudo) double each year.

But that's neither here nor there. The person is a 'winner' just like I am because they did what most people only dream of - they wrote a novel. And not only did they write a novel - they went from nothing to something in 30 (or less - if they came in late like me) days. Whether it's a 'good' novel or not - well, that's a different story for a different blog post.

I'm just glad I did it. And I did it while working on an editing project (which I'm already about 2-3 weeks behind because there were some HUGE point of view/present--progressing verb tense issues. (Have you read The Hunger Game series where Katniss tells the first in first person (I, me) as the action is happening? Well, that's what about 1/2 this book I'm editing is supposed to be in...only it isn't. There are flashback scenes that are obviously meant to be written in 1st PPOV past tense - but sometimes it was present tense. The same is true of the stuff that IS supposed to be occurring in the present tense because there are some chapters where it was used properly and some where it wasn't. And there are a few logistical/continuity issues with the story. So, yeah, it's taken longer than I'd planned!

Hopefully the author won't be too upset with me. I've been a wee bit busy not only with the 'writing stuff' but Jessica had her tonsils taken out after having strep throat for like the 4th time this our Thanksgiving wasn't awesome. It was ok - just not awesome.  (But my turkey was super, if you're wondering)

So, given that I poured all my free time into working on that crazy NaNoWriMo story and now I'm sort of in that - hmmm, what should I do with it? phase because, as I said, it's a really steamy romance that is more romantica (think erotica but not as hardcore) than a simple romance story, I think I deserve to give myself a little pat on my back for simply having written it! Of course, it's SO different from what I normally write, I don't know how it would be accepted by people who are used to my other work which makes me wonder what exactly I should do to go forward. (Many ??s floating in this noggin of mine)

But regardless of what happens with it right now, I accepted the 30 day challenge and I did it. And one day, something will become of my book! For now, I'll just be happy with my goofy little 'Winner' badge that the folks at NaNoWriMo generated. (Next year, if I should do it again, I hope the 'winner's badge' doesn't look so weird. This one seems pretty cheesy to me.)
I'm sure

Ah, so there you have it...another rambling post from me and it's not even! Perhaps I should give myself a 'posted twice in one week' badge! that sounds like a nifty idea, don't you think?

And that's all I've got... til next time!