The second day of a rather chilly December is coming to a close in a few minutes. That means that NaNoWriMo finished two days ago. As I mentioned in my last blogpost, I had already achieved the target of 50k words in a record time and my plan to end the month was to finish the zero draft in the 60-62k range and finish the remaining 8k or in December. Well, here’s my progress for the entire month.
Day 1: 1769 words
Day 10: 20597 words
Day 20: 43772 words
Day 23: 50444 words
Day 30: 65866 words
Of course, getting to those 15,000+ words was not that easy. It was quite an uphill battle because I was really struggling to put my thoughts into coherent words that I could then type up into the manuscript. I would know what I wanted to write, but the first hour of sitting down to write was generally hellish with the words just not flowing. Rather depressing actually.
However, thanks to a Bolthole friend, Tyrant, I had just recently discovered the production music company ‘Two Steps From Hell’. They produce the soundtracks for movie trailers and I gotta say, all I have heard so far is just incredible. I listened to their albums non-stop during my writing time and they helped tide me over because all the tracks are just that awesome. I suggest giving them a listen-to.
Here’s a sample to get you pumped up:
Now then, back to what I was talking about: Raven and Blood.
November overall has been one hell of a month in terms of my writing output. To give you proper context, I wrote nearly 66,000 words for an original novel. I wrote two lengthy book reviews for The Founding Fields. I wrote two sort-of-lengthy movie reviews for 24FPS. With the launch of the Bloghole, I also have been busy with managing the blog, taking in people’s requests for guest posts which I then edit and publish (one is live so far with another scheduled for the coming week) and also contacting four authors of Black Library and sending them all a series of questions for interviews (one of which is already live with three more incoming). I also put out Chapter 12 Part 1 of my Sons of Corax fanfic and have plotted some 3-4 other installments of this. And I have also spent time plotting another novel which I will be submitting to Black Library for next year’s submissions. And of course, my three blogposts for the month.
I think together, it all comes down to just shy of 80,000 words. That’s one hell of a writing spree. With the NaNo novel itself, I put out a consistently average ~2200 words a day. That was the biggest surprise for me this month, especially compared to the BL spring/summer submissions window where, for my novel submission, I aimed for 1k a day and only hit that limit on a few scarce days. The submissions never even got completed, as I mentioned in my blogposts at the time.
So now I know that I can write on demand to set word counts and can also write spontaneously since only minimal plotting went into Raven and Blood for the month and I know also that I can write a coherent piece to a deadline.
Writing Raven and Blood has been a learning experience. It has exposed a lot of flaws in my writing, particularly with regards to characterization and differentiation between my varied cast of characters. In its zero draft form, the novel is told almost exclusively from the point of view of my two main characters. Not that that approach is necessarily a bad idea but really, I have been able to mark out which scenes I could add in that inform the larger narrative and make it all that much more tighter.
Writing through these two characters was almost a chore at times because the way I wrote their dialogue and on, and given my developing plot, their reactions to new information and new events were almost all the time similar: nod, talk in an expressionless/emotionless manner, grin and so on and on.
And that was really irritating. I believe that if I put in some scenes from the points of views of other relevant characters, then I can break that dreadful repetition and keep the novel fresh. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there doesn’t need to be more variety in my characters’ response, but it will be a start.
I also found out that I would sometimes totally ignore characters who are supposed to be rather relevant to particular scenes but they are relegated to the background and never make a front and center appearance. The prime example of this is my female MC’s squire (she herself is a high-ranking Knight). In a lot of the action scenes and others he is totally absent when in fact I mention previously that he is supposed to be there, through the dialogue that is. In three of the biggest action scenes he is totally invisible. And that needs some major editing. In my early doodles for the novel, I had thought about how he would be quite central to the plot but as it stands right now, he is very much irrelevant. And that simply won’t do.
However, the one thing that has kept me rather sane is Scrivener, the program I have been using throughout the month to write the novel. It is simply excellent. Rather than rant on and on about it, I’ll just let someone else talk about it: William King of Gotrek & Felix/Ragnar fame.
2 – Scrivener Tips
Anyways, so yeah. I love this software, which I am currently using for windows. Given that I have won NaNoWriMo, I am now entitled to a staggering 50% discount off the software when I purchase it (all NaNoWriMo participants automatically get 20%). I am definitely looking forward to buying the full version since I have been using the Windows trial version so far. Fun times indeed.
Of course now with December in full swing, the goal for the end of the month is to finish the remaining part of the novel, thereby completing the zero draft and then proceed to the process of editing, revising and so on. I would love to go to first draft status by the end of the month so I can then start to look for some beta readers to help fine-tune the thing. That in itself will be rather time-consuming so I definitely do not want to be wasting time getting to that.
But I know for a fact that there are bound to be hiccups along the way. I am also going to be working on that aforementioned novel submission for Black Library. It is going to be a Space Marines Battles novel (hopefully) about my favourite chapter: the Angels of Retribution facing off against an enemy I’d rather not mention. Suffice to say, I have got lots of interesting things planned for this and said planning is progressing quite nicely I think. The project is tentatively titled ‘In the Emperor We Trust’. This should be massively fun. I quite look forward to this one because I won’t be stopping at the guidelines for the submissions. I will write the novel in full.
That’s really all I got for now. More to come in this week because I have a ton of articles and stuff to share with you lot.
In passing, I leave you all with the following, my next book review for The Founding Fields:
Posted on December 3, 2011, in Book Reviews, General, NaNoWriMo, Submissions and tagged Angels of Retribution, Bill King, Black Library, Bolthole, Characterization, Editing, First Drafts, NaNoWriMo, OMG I DID IT, Plotting, Raven and Blood, Scrivener, Success, The Founding Fields, Zero Drafts. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.