Archives: 2003 NaNo

Peace at last

November 25, 2003 | 12:48 PM

I did it. I accomplished something that I barely took seriously when Sue first mentioned it. I completed NaNoWriMo. And I completed it early - 50K by November 20 and finished with almost 64K on November 24. Wanna know what was great? Well, a lot of things actually, but the best was how it got me to sit down and write every day. I wrote from 3 - 6+ hours every day this month except for November 1st (had company) and November 3rd (was waiting on some input). And it wasn't all about the NaNoWriMo novel either. I got the Dan/Honey wedding story done as well as a good chunk of CWP#8. And, dammit, it felt good!

Another wonderful thing was the different approach to writing I took. Normally I obsess about everything: the characters, the names, every last character trait, every last physical detail, every geogrphical detail. I draw charts and graphs and maps and schedules and timelines and everything else. And I never finish.

This time, I didn't worry about ANY of that - and it flowed. I didn't force a storyline on the characters - the characters told ME the storyline. I was just a conduit to tell their story. And I think that is how writing is supposed to be. Of course, I have been slowly learning this by listening to the Trixie characters, but these were MY characters. And I completed the novel. In essentially three weeks. I gave up my sanity to do it - well, not really, it actually kept me sane what with all of the work mess going on (sidebar: when your unemployed friend hears only a small portion of the crap going on and actually thanks God that she's unemployed, you know things aren't good!). And I needed that escape desperately.

The beginning of all of this was amazing. On Oct. 1 I heard about NaNoWriMo, thought and maybe I'd do it, but I knew November was going to be a nightmare. I decided to wait and see. Succumbed to peer pressure and registered on Oct. 3. A few days later a guy named Marc Chelios jumped into my head. Don't particularly like the name Mark, and HATE the name spelled Marc, but okay - this is apparently my guy. Not going to obsess over the name, as I usually do. By November 1, Marc hadn't given me a plot or anything to work with. Decided not to do NaNoWriMo.

November 2nd - sitting in blessed peace watching my soap on tape. Darci Winchester THROWS herself into my head and says, "Write." I ignore her. She keeps pestering me. Half an hour later I turn off my soap and write 1200 words. It's a start, but I am still not committed to this. Decide to let it simmer.

On November 4th, start typing, realizing I have no plot, but the characters want to talk, so maybe I'll just listen to them and they'll take me somewhere.

And they did. The words flowed up until about 37K when Darci left. Marc got awfully quiet. And scared me, quite frankly! But then he bought a dog and met Jennifer (who also suprised me), and the words flowed again. It was hard to keep motivated after 50K, but I got myself out of that rut quickly, and pressed on.

And I finished. And I think it is overwritten drivel (something happens to you when you obsess about word count and not about writing well!) but dammit, I like the story. I like the characters. I like that I have 100 pages of story to work with, to draft, to recreate, and to polish. Will I do all of those things? Maybe, maybe not.

But I can. And that's the point.

Thank you, Chris Baty.


November 25, 2003 | 9:06 AM

God, has it been that long since I posted over here? I haven't even wished you congrats, Jennie - so, congrats!

I finished my novel last night - final word count: 63,789 words, which put me firmly on page two of the word count list last night but I am about to get knocked off this morning. Oh well, I can still say I made it to page two! But more importantly, I FINISHED!!!

I have to thank Sue for telling me about NaNoWriMo - it made my unbearable November much more bearable! And Jennie - thanks so much for providing this blog to come rant on. And thanks to everyone who was so encouraging! You guys all rock, you know that?

It's still not as long as Shadows of the Past (64,649 words, twelve chapters, 107 pages) - Winter's Path is 63,789 words, nineteen chapters, and 100 pages, and I don't think it's as long as the novel I wrote when I was fifteen and sent to publishers when I was 18, but I didn't have word count back then, so who knows! That one is about 120 pages printed out on a dot matrix printer in whatever that font was way back in the 80's ('89 to be exact). I have been meaning to transcribe it into Word for about 2 yrs now, so maybe this will be the kick in the pants I need - I've transcribed most of my other stuff. I'd love to polish it up more and give it another go around at the publishers.

Well, we're heading back to Michigan today and won't be back 'til after December 1, so I'm not too sure how much computer time I will have, so good luck to the rest of you - keep truckin'! I know it's corny, but I think we're all winners just for trying this - it takes a special breed, ya know? *g*

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone! (And a Happy Thursday to you, Sue! Oh BTW, I TRIED to make Marc be from Canada, but he just was NOT having any of it! I guess his ancesters were - I mean, why else would he be so insistent that THAT'S how his name was spelled!)


Oh yeah - is anyone taking a crack at NaNoEdMo?

Just News

November 17, 2003 | 8:51 AM

Jennie - you GO girl! I keep checking the word counts, waiting for you to pass 50K - you're almost there!!! WHOO HOO!!!!!

Kate - ummmm, you haven't read Chapter 10 yet (I can email it to you if you're interested, not sure when I'll post it) so if you think you're mad at Darci, now, well, it gets about 100X worse. I TOLD you she wasn't just spoiled!!! *g* I believe "evil manipulative b**ch" was the phrase I used. LOL. ANd I think it's great that you've made a decision and you're going with it. The word count isn't so much the issue as writing everyday anyway, and if giving it up inspires you to write - then that's great. And the fact that you're sitting down and writing every day is what matters. Remember, there are those who signed up and have not written one word.

I didn't get anywhere near as much writing done as I wanted to this weekend on Nanowrimo. Marc decided to stop talking to me. *sigh* I figured this was going to happen. Up until now each chapter was a flashback. So, Chapters 1 -9 take place over the course of 10 years and give us the back story. Chapter 10, both Marc and Darci were very adamant about what was to happen. I'm halfway through Chapter 11, and Marc's being pretty quiet now thet we're finally actually in the present and not the past. It's scary because I've made it this far (34,308 words - 70% of the way there) and I am not sure that I'm going to be able to finish. *sigh* But Marc is soooooo quiet all of a sudden!

Oh! And get THIS! So, I always knew that Marc moved to "the country." At one point it was Vermont but then he (and therefore I) realized that it still needed to be commuting distance away from NYC. So, I'm thinking Connecticut. Well, on Saturday it came time to firmly decide where he moved to. And do you want to know where he told me he had moved to? Ossining! He is INSISTING that he live just outside of Ossining. He won't accept Peekskill or Poughkeepsie. Nope, it has to be Ossining. Which makes me feel like a loser because that makes me feel like Trixie runs my life. And it's not nice to think that your life is being run by a fictional forever-14 girl detective. *sigh*

But, as Nanowrimo dried up, Brian did start talking to me, so I've got a really good start on CWP#8. For those of you who don't know, I use all of the items (I don't cheat and drop one) and I use one item from every previous CWP. So, now that we're on #8, the list is crowded. But in 3 pages I've managed to use 14 elements already! It's all about combining things - like wearing sombody else's red shoes that squeak! Also, Brian decided to watch the news and you will not believe how many things you can manage to stick into a news story - like the couple arrested for having sex in Central Park with a hula hoop. *g*

Anyway, I need to actually go WORK (UGH!), but I felt kinda chatty this morning so I thought I would babble in you all's direction.

Hope everyone has a great week!!!!


November 12, 2003 | 10:40 PM

I'm very excited to see the progress everyone seems to be making - Nanowrimo wise or review wise! I couldn't resist adding little bloggy comments here and there! *g*

Anyway, I am gosh darn exhausted but I just had to come celebrate with you guys - I hit the halfway point! I'm at 25,190 words! Which means that I am 1,190 words over to be on track to have this wrapped up by Nov 25 when I go home. (Except now we might be leaving on the 24th and all I have to say to that in relation to nanowrimo is YIKES!)

I've also moved up to page 12 on the word count list, which makes me feel pretty gosh darn happy!

Well, I am off to bed now - too tired to even return posts at the Jix MB tonight.

G'nite all - and keep on trucking! *g*

Word Count: Sort Descending

November 11, 2003 | 1:58 PM

Thanks for updating my link, Jennie! You are just CRUISING!!!

Just a quick note - if you browse the nanowrimo authors by word count the guy in the lead is already at 260,000+ words. YIKES!!! #2 lives in the very same county that I do and s/he has 139,000+ words.

I obsessively checked to see where I fell - page 30 out of 531 pages of authors. Our star Jennie is on page 4!!!! Kudos Jennie!!!

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled blog reading! ;)

Shouts out

November 10, 2003 | 10:34 PM

Sjaye Sue: Yay you! That's wonderful that you wrote today and got a lot accomplished. And you are the queen of tying lovely plots together in the end, so I've no worries that you'll do exactly that! And you? Dark and Bloody? Nooooooo! ;)

SIM Sue: Good for you hitting the 10,000 word mark! And yes, writing is the only thing getting me through these days. I am absolutely loving this experience, and instead of draining me, like I thought it might, it's energizing me and getting me through all of this crap! And guess what? I'm no longer feeling that intense urge to hit word count any more! Well, not that often anyway! :) I'm not sure I go as long as 20 mins like you, but I AM getting better!

Susan: I am sure you'll find yourself rolling with your new jury story. I know you can do this!

Well, I have realized today that I am not going to be able to write after the 25th, so I need to have it all done by the 25th. Which means I should be writing 2000 words a day. I'm at 17,127, so I'm on track for regular NaNoWriMo, but I should be at 20,000 today to stay on track for a 25th deadline. Then again, I may just steal the laptop from work to take with me to Michigan and that will give me some extra time!

Is anyone else finding that they're using a LOT more descriptive words in their writing than they used to?

Hugs and good writing vibes to everyone out there. You all (and this insane notion to write a 50K word novel this month) are actually keeping me sane!

Oh and Jennie, am I being completely pushy and self-promoting by saying if you want to add my NaNoWriMo link to the list of links, it's okay? ;)

Good night all!!!!!

Some random thoughts on NaNoWriMo

November 7, 2003 | 5:29 PM

- After having the worst week of my life (literally - boot camp was a DREAM compared to this), I am finding it VERY cathartic to have the NaNoWriMo novel to work on.

- Is anybody else incessantly hitting "word count" after typing a paragraph? *g*

- I went about this novel different than anything I have ever approached in writing and it seems to be working. I still have no defined plot, but I am listening to the characters instead of trying to force my vision on the novel and the words are flowing AND a plot is slowly coming to the fore. I LOVE that feeling.

- So, are the publishers aware of NaNoWriMo? Do you think they are deliciously anticipating the wonderful works of art that may come their way at the end? Dreading the amateur novels that may be hoisted their way? Or pretty indifferent? My vote is pretty indifferent, but you never know!

- I have a work dinner tonight, I have to work 14 hours tomorrow (locked in a boardroom with 12 other people and no access to a computer) and 5 hours on Sunday, so I am thinking not much is going to get done on my novel this weekend, which makes me sad.

- maitre' d counts as two words!

Oh! And the link I provided AGES ago (Oct 8) has been removed and everything has been moved to a passworded directory per Jenni's advice. I have the page all loaded and passworded, but haven't moved any of my story there yet. But, if you want to keep track once I've uploaded the story (which I think I may do Sunday) the link is - you can email me for the password. And if you have enough on your plates and don't want to read it, I totally understand! I haven't gotten my lazy butt over to my email to request any of you who have things passworded, but I plan to soon! *g*

Everybody keep up the good work! And Misty and Mary, there is nothing basement-y or rock bottom-y about either of you!!!!!!!!!!

Well, aren't I being wordy - I told you the words were flowing!

9819 words
4.5 chapters and a prologue
16 pages

Jumping into the Fray

November 3, 2003 | 4:22 PM

I have been waffling for the last three weeks as to whether or not I was going to go through with this as November is shaping up to be a crazy month. I thought I had decided not to, but last night some guy named Marc Chelios and his wife Darci started talking to me out of the blue. I have absolutely no plot, no idea what is going on - I just know that Darci is in the process of divorcing Marc. The funny thing is I don't even particularly like these names and I detest "Marc" spelled with a "c" but apparently they want me to write. So, I think I'm going to. I have about 1000 words right now - just pray that the characters eventually give me a plot to work with!!!!

2003 NaNo Page

October 8, 2003 | 10:31 PM

Well, like I said earlier, I have no idea what I am going to write about. I just know it won't be Trixie. So, to get myself in the mood, I made a page where my story will go! If you guys want to keep up with my progress starting in November it'll be at Now, to get motivated to WRITE! :)

No Clue

October 8, 2003 | 11:06 AM

I have NO CLUE what I am going to write next month, nor have I had time to think about it. Maybe this weekend I can do some brainstorming!

Greetings From NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo Founding Donor


2011 Participant

2011 Municipal Liaison
NaNoName: pipermaru
Also known as: Dana

2011 NaNo Novel:
Who knows?


Download Erik Benson's NaNo Report Card in .xls format
Updated for 2011 by Dana

Past NaNovels

2010 Winner
Untitled Supernatural Mystery
Final Word Count: 52,769

2009 Winner
Gethsemane Redux
Final Word Count: 52,256

2008 Winner
Circle of Six
Final Word Count: 63,211

2007 Winner
Basic Chemistry
Final Word Count: 56,093

2006 Winner
Trixie Belden and the Mystery at Turtle Cove
Final Word Count: 50,773

2005 Winner
Final Word Count: 50,724

2004 Winner
Beneath the Surface
Final Word Count: 51,021

2003 Winner
House of Cards
Final Word Count: 63,789