I won NaNoWriMo 2014!

I JUST WON NANOWRIMO 2014!

I didn’t finish my novel… far from it, really, but I’m still proud that I managed to finish a day early (well, two days early – I just finished at around 1 a.m on the 29th so it counts as the 29th but in my head it’s still the 28th!) and that I’ve begun the long journey towards creating a beautiful product that people can enjoy.

So far I’m 50,077 words in and about halfway through the plot. I’ve learned a lot this year, but I’ll save an eloquent list of things I’ve learned for later. Right now it’s way too late and I have to get up in four hours to go to work. So I just want to say…

– I’m sorry I didn’t post more this month! But I did post, which is actually pretty impressive given my track record.

– THANK YOU to each and every one of you who gave me encouragement on twitter, followed me, commented and liked my stuff! You’re wonderful and I hope you’re also having a successful month.

– I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, if you celebrate that. I just know there’s turkey involved, and I hope you enjoyed your turkey and cranberry-stuff. (Okay, I admit I had a Thanksgiving dinner today, which was awesome because it was something I haven’t had often in my lifetime and guys, the food is amazing.)

Let me know how your writing is going! Be happy! Don’t stay up too late like I’m doing right now!

Things to feel happy about when your plot is too big for your word count

Help! I’m almost at 35,000 words and my characters haven’t even begun to unravel the mystery of my novel (and neither have I, for that matter. I still don’t know what happens in the last third of the story, and this novel has no title and therefore no excerpt posted on my profile). This came unexpectedly, since I was under the impression that I was writing a fun short novel that would be fast-paced and entertaining.

And I don’t really think it’s either fast-paced or entertaining, to tell the truth.

But this is the middle of the month –okay, a bit more than the middle, but whatever– and I think it’s normal to feel incredibly insecure about how things are going at this point. So in an effort to make myself feel more motivated, I’m going to brag a little (in second person). And hopefully my bragging will make you feel like bragging as well, because if there’s one thing you can always count on, it’s human ego! And then we can make each other feel better about our writing progress, whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo or not, and arrogance will actually be a helpful thing, for once.

1. You’ve written a ton of words. So maybe you thought your novel was going to finish at around 50,000 words, and now you’re thinking the word ‘end’ will probably end up being word #108,245. Yes, you have a lot of work ahead, but think of how proud you’ll be when you get to open your Word document (or whatever) and see all the pretty numbers, and scroll through an impressive amount of text and feel extremely proud of yourself. Just don’t zoom in too close; avoid looking at all those typos and bizarre metaphors.

2. You’ll have more material to edit later. Which sounds like a punishment, I know, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise! This way, you’ll be able to pick and choose which scenes you want to keep, which paragraphs need to be shortened and which characters can be cut out all together, without feeling like you’re cutting off your novel’s limbs. You’ll actually want to make it shorter, so your finished product will be a concentrated version of all the things that make a good story: emotion, action, dialogue and great characterization. And you won’t even have to think up new scenes!

3. You’re exercising your writing muscles! They say that to become a good writer, you need to write every day. Not only are you currently writing every day, but you’re also writing a lot every day. And that’s an excellent achievement. Sadly, it doesn’t mean that it counts as actual exercise… so make sure you’re not eating too many snacks at 3 a.m. like I am.

4. You’re creating more for your story. Even if this first draft ends up being one of those novels that gets completely rewritten, and ends up looking like some badly-written Alternate Universe fanfic of your future published material, this will be what that successful bestseller will be born from. You’re getting to know your characters, expanding their stories, realizing what you need to learn more about and writing a couple of really funny or poetic lines in the midst of all that rambling and rather rushed description. This is like the first time you try to cook something by doing it straight from the recipe: you’ll do your best, you’ll be totally confused most of the time, and you’ll probably get the measurements all wrong. But next time, when you try again, you’ll know how much you should put of everything and it’ll all go much more smoothly.

So for now, I’m happy just aiming to just write as much as possible, no matter how far behind I am in the actual story. And you should join me in looking at my dashboard and smiling self-centered-ly because we’re achieving something.

This makes me proud.

This makes me proud. What makes you proud?

Seven words I constantly misspell

At day #12 of NaNoWriMo, I’m quickly realizing the words that I seem unable to spell correctly no matter how many times I write them.

It’s absolutely ridiculous. I know how to write these words -at least, some part of my brain must know, because I correct myself every time- but no matter how many times I write each one of these words, I always end up misspelling them; even if I literally wrote them last less than a minute ago.

So, here it is… the list of words that I’ve compiled over the past week and a half, and will probably misspell again, now that I’m writing them:

 Misspell: I KNOW. It’s Misspell, but I always write mispell. You don’t know how many times I made this mistake while writing this post. I need to learn to think of the word as Ms. Pell; maybe that’ll help.

Career: I always write carreer. Maybe it has to do with my knowledge of Spanish, and that’s why I identify the ‘r’ sound as ‘rr’?

OppressionRemember that post I wrote sometime ago? Yeah, well, I kept writing opression the entire time.

AcrossI write accross. I don’t know why.

OccasionallyWell, there already are two letters that are written twice… so I might as well go all out and write it occassionally…?

Triumphant: For some reason, it’s always thriumphant. Which actually sounds a bit more triumphant in my brain; I really like how it sounds. BUT THAT’S NOT HOW THE WORD IS.

 Possess: It’s four ‘s’ in a single word; which, in my opinion, is a little weird, but whatever… it’s still not okay to write posess. That would be like the feminine of pose, or something.

 

I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones I’ve noticed lately. I hope I’m not the only one who can’t seem to learn how to spell things properly!

What words are your constant enemies?


If you feel like procrastinating a little more today, here’s  my interview at The Kelworth Files, where I talk about writing, breakfast, and share a weird picture of a giraffe. You won’t regret it.

Progress… and constructive procrastination, maybe.

[Please just ignore my progressively less eloquent post titles… I can’t even name my novel. I need help.]

It’s the sixth day of NaNoWriMo, and my word count is at 8,676 right now, which is a good number… my goal for today is 10,002 (at least), so I should be fine.

Yesterday, I discovered that it is within my capacity to write 1,000 words in only 30 minutes, which is awesome but is also sort of unfortunate, because the ‘I don’t have enough time’ excuse won’t work anymore and I’ll be forced to keep writing instead of scrolling through tumblr for ten hours. But if you think about it, I could technically write almost an entire novel in a day (assuming I didn’t take any breaks at all, which isn’t healthy or plausible, really) and that’s pretty cool to think about.

How’s my novel going? Well…

It’s sort of limping along, and neither my novel nor I are particularly sure where we’re going with this, but we hope it’ll lead somewhere. My main characters are acting up and refusing to adhere to the kind of personalities I had originally assigned for them, I randomly decided to turn the story into a quest to redeem my MC’s brother who has suddenly been accused of multiple murders because of a nasty coincidence, and four people have already died in a pretty horrible way.

So… it’s going well, I guess?

This is probably the most badly-written novel I’ve ever written, but I’m learning to just embrace how terrible it is. In the past, I never really understood what people meant by the ‘inner editor’, but this year I’m painfully aware of it. My way of coping is just by leaving bolded, caps-locked notes of ‘[DEAR NASIM: CHANGE THIS]‘ so that I remember just how bad it is when I do get around to editing it after November.

 

Things that have been wonderfully useful this week: NaNo Pep Talks and Write or Die (honestly, I’m going to use Write or Die for homework when I start studying again).

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT (Unless you’re procrastinating, in which case: go back to writing your novel immediately! or just procrastinate with these, I honestly won’t mind… I mean, seriously, I’m procrastinating by writing this blog post):

  • Constellations, my Chronicles of Narnia fanfic, which is new on Fanfiction.net. Things never happen the same way twice. Two nights under the sky with one thousand three hundred and forty two years (or three) in between. It’s a one-shot, so it doesn’t take that much procrastination!
  • Also, I got a chance to write a guest blog post for Lyn the Thorne-Alder here (or here, if you’re like me and your computer blocks LJ) titled What I learned from the years I did NaNoWrimo (and from the years I didn’t). If you’re like me and feel like you need confidence because this year, suddenly nothing works for you, you may find it a bit encouraging.
  • And if you happen to read Spanish… my friend Marcelo Alvarenga just wrote an epic post on the best classic movie adaptations. Check it out and leave a comment!

 

Now, how’s your novel going? Are you as confused about what’s happening to your plot as I am?