Monday, December 7, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Results, and Why I’m a Glutton for Punishment

I finished NaNoWriMo 2009 with 50,218 words by the skin of my teeth. On November 30, when I got home from work at about 9:45, I had 1,400 words to go. No big deal. However, my computer decided that the power cord wasn’t going to connect right, and for about an hour, the laptop would shut down due to a lack of power. It’s a second-hand laptop (the battery never worked while I have owned it) and has served its purpose so far, but right now it’s all jacked up with this power issue and some viruses and/or adware.

So every five minutes or so, just about the time I would get the computer back up and get the file open, it would shut off on me. Or I would be able to type about two sentences, hit save, and it would turn off. This went on for about an hour and I really thought that I wasn’t going to get my novel uploaded into the NaNo robot thingie before 12:00. Brandi suggested I just copy and paste some text, knowing that I was going to finish and it was the computer that was holding me back. That felt too much like cheating to me and so I declined.

Finally, I was able to get the computer balanced just right on the edge of the footstool and got my word count in. The story doesn’t have a proper ending on it, just some notes on where I want the ending to go. Overall, the story needs a lot of work, but I am satisfied with the rough draft that I was able to pump out in 30 days. There were too many of those days in there that I did not write at all and I had to play a lot of catch up toward the end of the month.

The novel is the story of a retired professor/widower who decides to finally go on the trips that he and his late wife had planned on going on and never got around to. The story takes place in the late 1950s or early/middle 1960s, for which I will have to do some research on a revision. As he starts to travel, Luther encounters many strange things that he would have never thought existed, including people who have lived for decades in the same Illinois corn field (without the farmer’s knowledge), man-eating Venus fly traps, and killer squirrels with a thirst for blood, among other things. I was also excited that when I go into revision I will be able to use some of the Survival Tips that I started writing a couple years ago. I’ll give it at least a month before I go back and start to do any kind of revision on it.

Why am I a glutton for punishment? Is it because I plan to revisit this somewhat random work of fiction? No, it’s because last night I started another large writing project that has been bubbling around in my brain since some point, mid-NaNo. This is a super villain story in which the villain finds out that getting everything he wants isn’t necessarily what he wants. I’m hand writing this one, partially because the computer is on the blink and partially because I enjoy the process of writing something out by hand, making notes in the margins, etc. and it has been a long time since I’ve done that.

Since I work at a library, my writing goal is to one day have a book published, check it out to a patron and say “You know, the N.Y. Times review of that is pretty harsh, it’s really not as bad as they say it is.”