Thank Goodness It’s December

So … I finished NaNoWriMo. Thanks to everyone who followed along and tolerated my word count updates on twitter and facebook. Grand total for the November frenzy was over 60,000. I won on November 24 and officially “won” on November 25 when the site started validating winners.What does winning mean? To win, writers had to upload their entire novel to the site where a macro did a word count and then deleted the file so there’d be nothing for people to steal later.1 If you had over 50K, your writer status bar turned purple and you got a link to a part of the web site where you could download web badges saying you won.

That’s it, folks. No confetti or balloons fell from my ceiling. Champagne was not popped. No money exchanged hands. This is all about the satisfaction of winning. And, unlike your grade-school field day, not everyone won. Here’s what NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty had to say about the 2008 stats:

This year, we had 119,301 authors sign up for NaNoWriMo. That’s a 17.5% bump in turn-out from 2007, when we had 101,510 writers. Of everyone registered, 21,683 of us won. That’s an 18.2% win rate.

On the collective word-count front…Together, we wrote 1,519,501,005 words. That’s a 28% increase over last year, when we reached 1,187,931,929 words.

I was one of the first 1,024 people to win. Because what use is a blog if not to brag about meaningless victories like that.

Would I do NaNoWriMo next year? Yeah, sure, why not? When I actually sat down to write, I found it pretty easy going. But then again, I didn’t have the parents standing over my shoulders, threatening to ground me if I didn’t put down the laptop to study/take out the trash/write the college essay/whatever it was that 80% of people on the message boards were complaining about. And, yeah, most of them were writing vampire novels. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but come on, people – how many 600-year-old vampires who look like they’re 17 are willing to restrain themselves from sucking the blood of the nubile 15-year-old protagonist? And at what point does that become pedophilia? And why don’t these centuries-old vamps gain any wisdom from their life experience. I’m just saying.

My novel is still a work in progress. I didn’t get to the end before November ended. If I’d started the month with the pace I finished at, my last two words may have been “the end.” I’d guess I have at least another 40,000 words to go before the story wraps up. Will I do it? I don’t know. Maybe. We’ll see. I do know that if I don’t start writing it again before the end of the week, things look grim for the main character. She’ll be forever trapped in her parents’ house wondering whether that really cute guy who may or may not be engaged will find her in Ohio.

Yeah, I ended up writing a chick lit book. Since I only read these when I’m flying somewhere and have run out of my regular reading material, I’m not the best expert in the genre. But my book does have the requisite meet-cute scene and product placements. The original plot was going to follow the main character through various temp job assignments. At 60,000 words, she just wrapped up her first assignment. I found myself more interested in writing about what she did after work and on weekends. A seriously screwed up timeline that requires major editing should this thing go forward meant that she was only at the job for a little over a week. Perfectly normal in the world of temping, but I’m thinking I’ll need to add in some more job assignments and lengthen the time of the book if I want to stick with the original idea and title. No, you can’t read it until I’ve finished it and done a preliminary edit.
Anyway, yes, I’m planning on doing this again next year. I encourage all of my friends who ever had an idea for a story to try it. Although if you’re going to write about a girl who meets a mysterious stranger and discovers that you don’t need to be alive to live, the mysterious stranger had better not be a vampire. A zombie is okay though.

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