Archives: 2004 NaNo

Thank God that's done!

November 30, 2004 | 10:06 PM

Well, that may be the lamest chapter I have ever written (and considering the chapters that came before it, that's saying something!), but I wrapped it up. Leaving room for the sequel, of course. Not that I am ever going to write a sequel (*shudder*), but because when you introduce a murder plot at 40K, it's hard to wrap it up (and three other plotlines) by 50K when you're already beyond bored with the story. I did do a very short epilogue, though. The title basically shows how little I cared by that point. "Epilogue: Where Dana Ends This Month Long Insanity."

I then gave one sentence summaries for each of the characters and further strung along the sequel insanity.

But at any rate, it is done. The final toll:

Chapters: 24 plus a prologue and a very short epilogue
Words: 51021
Dead bodies: 3
Changes in mood/themes/coherence: 1,276,894,345 (did I mention it is very schizophrenic?)

Okay, only 335 days til NaNo '05! :)


November 30, 2004 | 6:37 PM

So, I just put the disk I typed all my NaNo stuff on into my computer. Apparently, my parents' computer has a virus. As I have never had a virus I didn't know that "quarantining" a file is synonymous with "deleting" a file, at least in the Norton Anti-Virus dictionary. So, everything I wrote at my parents house - poof! - gone.

Actually, it's still on their harddrive so once they clean their computer (my BIL is a computer whiz and will take care of that for them next time he's over there), I can recover it. It sucks so bad though, I don't really care! :)

So, now I know why I was so adamant with myself that I had to take 37 minutes to upload the novel for verification "in case something happens" instead of waiting until I got to work this morning and could have uploaded it in 30 seconds. Whew! Now that 37 minutes seems like time well spent!

Also, this whole virus thing hasn't helped with my complete lack of motivation in writing that final chapter sometime in the next 5.5 hours.

Verified but not done

November 26, 2004 | 1:29 PM

Well, I hit 50K words here in Michigan and uploaded the novel for verification on my parents' dinosaur of a computer. It connects at 9.6 KB. Yes, it did take 37 minutes for the verification process to run!

I still have to write one (maybe two) chapters to really wrap everything up, so I'll probably do that Monday or Tuesday back in D.C. I just don't think I'll feel like it here with my niece to play with and my sick dog to take care of (he's taken a very bad turn for the worse the last few days). I will do it before the 30th though, because even though I got verified and hit 50K words, if I don't actually finish the novel in November, I'll feel like I cheated.

But this is such a load off my mind! I survived the sophomore jinx! :)

I'm Sick of NaNo

November 23, 2004 | 6:17 PM


I said it.

I can't believe that about this time last year, I had written almost 64,000 words. And while I am very grateful for my current 45K and change, it just feels like this stupid story is never going to end. I swear, these last 4,437 words are gonna kill me! :)

In good news, two of the four plots have wrapped themselves up. Which just leaves two more to go, and I think I can see a way to intertwine them and wrap them up together. Hopefully.

One of those plots is Joe and his obsession with his wife's death. Last night she told me she was murdered, so at about 40K, I opened up a whole new can of worms! But, thanks to Leigh's suggestion, Gabi can help Joe resolve this - she just doesn't realize it yet. Turns out she knew Joe's wife. That came out in yesterday's writing session, too! :)

So, with any luck, Matt can take a turn at driving tomorrow and I can finish this puppy off. I did write 4,178 words today and my record this year is 4,969 in one day, so it is doable. If not, maybe I can finish it off Thanksgiving morning before the festivities begin. That way I can get verified as soon as it opens at the NaNo site and BE DONE WITH THIS!!!! ;)

At any rate, I don't know if I am going to write anymore tonight or not. AS I said, I am pretty sick of this novel at this point! Plus, I need to pack to go to Michigan!

The Best Laid Plans

November 23, 2004 | 11:14 AM

So, it's up in the air as to whether or not we're actually going to get to GO to Michigan for Thanksgiving. And, if we do, Matt has informed me that he will need me to drive so that he can bring a laptop and work on a journal article that his boss just informed him HAS to be submitted by November 30. Which means that all of that wonderful car time I had planned to work on my novel just went out the window.

But, if he can't work on the laptop, then we don't get to go to Michigan at all, and that is NOT an option as far as I am concerned. We were going to take Monday off and drive back then, but now Matt can't, so he wants to leave at midnight Sunday night, drive all night, and then go straight to work. I just don't see myself with a pen light, typing furiously all night long on the ride back, so any NaNoing on the ride back is out, too.

At any rate, I'm just praying that his meeting with the scientific equipment rep goes well this afternoon (Matt can't get the data he needs for the paper until the rep from the company comes out this afternoon to help him), and we're actually going to get to go home. Oy.

Witty title goes here

November 18, 2004 | 1:18 PM

Well, I can officially say that this NaNo is nothing like last year's NaNo. Last year the writing was easy and the story cohesive. I hit 50K on November 20 with what felt like no effort. The words flowed.

This year, writing has not come so easy. I am very easily distracted and find myself wandering the internet when I should be writing. The story is not cohesive at all.

One minute it is a sarcastic, funny look at being thirty-something, the next minute it's all sinister with the presence of two dead bodies (both dead long before the story began), and the next minute it's kinda uplifting and about people following their dreams. If these were all sub plots leading to the same place, I would be okay with it. But I might as well call this "A completely UNcohesive and schizophrenic look at four different people's lives." ARGH!!!!

I wish it would just decide what to BE and then maybe the writing would be easier and I could actually concentrate on the story and not find myself surfing instead.

In good news, though, my QuickPad came the other day and I managed to eke out an extra 500 words yesterday when the Metro was delayed. I really wanted the Alphasmart Neo (or even the Dana, heh), but I got it off of eBay and the deals for the QuickPad were better than the deals for the Alphasmart. Which probably means the Alphasmart is more in demand, and therefore, better, but this was a splurge as it was, so I had to go cheap. Including shipping, I paid less than half of what the QuickPad goes for retail without shipping.

I researched both products and a lot of writers and journalists have been using these or their ancestors since the eighties and absolutely love them. I figured if it was good enough for professional writers, it was certainly good enough for me.

I've been using it two days and have been really happy with it so far. And, since I am CLEARLY not going to have this travesty finished before I go home next week for Thanksgiving, now I can get some writing done during the eight hour drive home (which will most likely be ten hours in Thanksgiving traffic). Always a bright side, right?

I can't believe that I have actually managed to write 7,924 words in the last two days. So, I only have to write 1,528 more tonight before I go to bed and I will be where I "should" be today. That's a relief after falling so far behind in Chicago.

Now, if I could just decide on a plot...

What is up with these characters?!?

November 17, 2004 | 8:09 AM

So, after the women got preachy, I switched to Joe. Who proceeded to spend his entire chapter being really depressed and mourning his dead wife (she died three years ago, Joe tells me). What happened to my comedy? My sarcasm? My lighthearted look at three thirty something women?

Oh, and Joe informs me that he has decided that one of my three female protagonists may have had something to do with his wife's death. Or they might know something about it. Or maybe not.


I think taking 5 days off to go to Chicago has allowed the characters to think they can just run amuck.

Also, last night involved a 3 hour emergency visit to the vet with Chance (he's okay), so my plan to cruise and catch up was an utter failure. *sigh*


November 10, 2004 | 1:33 PM

My zany, sarcastic, light hearted yet somewhat darkly comedic look at the lives of three suburban woman just took an unexpected and not too pleasant turn. Suddenly, the three main characters are getting all preachy with each other. Yuck.

I think I need Joe again.

Boring stats that no one but me will care about

November 9, 2004 | 7:12 PM

As such, they're going into the extended entry!

Weird thoughts about names

November 9, 2004 | 1:03 PM

As i was looking at the eight names I have picked out for my current characters, I noticed a trend: Biblical names. So, I research the origins of all eight names. It turns out that half are Biblical in origin and the other half are all Greek in origin. Are Biblical and Greek names so common that it is likely that I would choose nothing but those? No Scandinavian? No English? No Irish? Just Hebrew and Greek?

I also named my fictional town Eden. Hmmm, am I sensing a theme here? Stephen King in On Writing says that themes will naturally emerge without any conscious effort to put them there.

I must confess that Cassie's (Cassandra: Greek, prophet of doom) last name is very Dutch. Because everytime I use her full name I get two extra words: Van de Graaf. Heh. I used this little trick last year with Jennifer Van Cortlandt, but I decided to take it to a new level this year. :)

Something subconscious?

November 5, 2004 | 7:09 PM

So, suddenly Cassie informed me she was going grocery shopping. Okay, whatever she wants to do. I tried to force her to do something she didn't want to last Monday and I got 824 words of crap, so if she wants to go shopping - she's going shopping.

She's standing in an aisle when someone suddenly rams her with his shopping cart. It's a new neighbor who hasn't moved in yet, but has been discussed incessantly since Chapter 1 (I'm in Chapter 4 right now). He was supposed to appear when Cassie, Rachel, and Gabi went over to his house to introduce themselves and welcome him to the neighborhood. But, suddenly, here he is ramming Cassie with the shopping cart.

But here's what startles me...

I just had to run over here and laugh...

November 4, 2004 | 7:49 PM

Trixie just found her way into my novel, lol.

"The next year she had discovered Trixie Belden books. Trixie was a spunky teen detective, much more three dimensional than that silly Nancy Drew, who solved mysteries between chores, homework, and being teased by her brothers. That was the year Gabi decided that she was going to be a detective."

Suddenly, Gabrielle - who is the antithesis of me, so this is extra surprising - decided to wax poetic about her childhood and the next thing I know, she's a Trixie fan! It truly is the only thing we have in common.

Okay, back to the salt mines!

False start

November 2, 2004 | 7:44 PM

Well, I pondered and pondered over my novel all last night and this morning on the Metro ride to work. I knew it wasn't going to work. But did I just keep going anyway? Or should I start over? And what would I start over with?

Then, I had a flash today at some point sitting at my desk at work - right in the middle of reviews and deadlines and annoying reviewers.

I took that flash, cultivated it, and I've started completely over - and I am much, much, much, much happier with what I've written! I was most definitely forcing it yesterday and I hated every second of it. But I'm TRULY listening to the characters now (I have three female protagonists - two of whom didn't even exist when I woke up this morning). I even figured out who Katie was - she's Cassie's friend's 13-year-old daughter!

I was going to trash those 824 words, but the NaNo Bible (No Plot, No Problem) , says to keep every word - even those you know you're not going to use. it felt like cheating, but I just did what Chris said and colored all those words white. They're invisible, but countable as he says.

So, mood elevator from the NaNoWriMo Report Card has gone from 2 to about an 8. Whew!

824 words

November 1, 2004 | 7:18 PM

And I HATE every last one. I have a feeling this year is NOT going to go well. *sigh*

Just one word...

October 22, 2004 | 11:12 AM

I thought this post over in the "Reaching 50,000" Forum over at the NaNo site was pretty interesting.

The MotherLode of NaNo Blog Lists

October 21, 2004 | 11:37 AM

A brave soul over at Blogger is compiling a list of NaNoers with writing/NaNo blogs. It's called NaNoBlogMo. What fun to have aone stop shopping lists of blogs devoted to the NaNo insanity.

If you sign up, beware, Graham is already several hundred submissions behind in updating so it might take a while to be added to the list. And, as he does have a day job, that's just fine! :)

Oh, and I have a tentative title for my blog that has a 99% likelihood of changing (heck, my 2003 NaNo novel's title got changed two months AFTER I finished it - you think I could commit at this point when I don't even have a word written?). I'm keeping it quiet for now, but I am hoping that if I really let it simmer, it will help me develop one of those - what to you call them again? - oh yeah, plots.


October 18, 2004 | 3:13 PM

I chose the NaNo t-shirt that looks like the Superman logo. It got delivered the other day and I happily wore it to a gathering of writer friends (a lot of whom are doing NaNo this year) to have brunch Sunday morning.

Yes, I am a geek to be excited by this! :)

A possible plot...

October 14, 2004 | 4:30 PM


Katie stars on a soap. Cassie is her twin and is often mistaken for her. She's accepted that, but it's still a source of frustration. I want it to be irreverant and light, though.

Not sure how Kellen fits into all of this.

Of course, I guarantee this is going to change by Nov. 1 so I almost feel rather silly for writing this down and sharing it publicly!

And the indecision sets in...

October 8, 2004 | 11:27 AM

So, when I thought my dog might be on death's doorstop (chemo is working, so he has at least 6 months and not the 4 weeks I had feared), I wasn't even sure I was going to do NaNo.

Then, as I began to accept the diagnosis, I decided that I was feeling up to participating in NaNo - but I only wanted to write about Chance. Hence, the interrelated stories about Chance the Wonder Dog.

A new toy!

October 4, 2004 | 11:30 AM

So, one of the threads started on Friday night asked which progress meters people used to track their writing progress. Last year I used the NaNoWriMoProMe, as I will again this year. But one of the posts suggested an already-formatted Excel spreadsheet all ready for NaNo. I eagerly downloaded it Friday night to check it out and then remembered that I don't have Excel at home!

So, I finally had time to head over to the site and check out the download here at work. It is SO COOL! All you do is put in how many words your novel has so far and how many hours you wrote that day and it calculates the number of words you wrote that day, words per hour, words you have left, avg. words per day, what percent complete you are, what day you'll be done on if you keep up the same rate, approximate writing hours you have left, and a whole ton more. It even has graphs so you can visually see your progress. There's even a morale chart! I love new toys!

And it begins...

October 1, 2004 | 9:12 PM

The NaNo site kept my registration from last year, so I just updated my profile. And I've already posted on one of the forums. Oh boy... :)

It's October 1st!

October 1, 2004 | 12:35 PM

According to the NaNo home page, the new site won't premiere until 6 p.m. my time tonight - so I have a few more hours before I can sign up! :)

A lump of clay of a plot

September 30, 2004 | 8:48 AM

So, after the bad news I received last week, I was not sure that I would be participating in NaNo this year. Depending on how Chance continues to respond to his chemo, I may or may not still be participating.

But all of this made me want to write a story about a doggy named Chance. I thought about writing about his cancer, but then I thought that would be too dry and dreary. Then I thought about writing about three kids (Cassie and Katie the twins and Kellen their little brother) who have a dog. But then I didn't know what the heck kind of plot I was going to come up with that would carry 50K words, since that seemed more like a children's story.

When I was telling Susan this the other night she said, "Why not a series of adventures?" So, I thought that would be a good idea. (Susan always has good ideas!)

So, unless something drastic changes, I will be doing a series of adventures about Cassie, Katie, Kellen and their dog Chance. And it will be called "The True and Wonderful Adventures of..." and that's where I get stuck. I want something snappy. Like "Chance the Wonder Dog" but I don't actually want to use the phrase "Wonder Dog" but something of that flavor - really campy and attention getting. Gonna have to stew about it some more.

But I think writing the adventures of a doggy named Chance will be a good outlet for me as I continue to deal with my Chancey's cancer.

Should I be listening to all these voices?

September 21, 2004 | 10:46 AM

Or...all the voices in my head aren't pretty.

Someone named Katie wants to be Cassie's twin. I'm keeping these notes (via this blog) to possibly use later, but I am trying to figure out who to listen to.

The idea of Cassie and Katie being twins is making me slightly uncomfortable. Is that discomfort a good thing or a bad thing? At what point do I say, "Stop! I don't know who you are, and I am writing about Cassie!"

But then, last year, Darci didn't exist until November 2 and showed up insisting that I write even though I had already decided not to participate in NaNo after all. I was skeptical, but she carried my plot forward ten chapters and then even appeared again in the last chapter to light a fire under my protagonist's butt. What if I had ignored her?

Or should I just see a therapist about these voices in my head?


September 17, 2004 | 5:48 PM

In the middle of a Trixie fanfic writing session, I decided "Serendipity" MAY be the title of my NaNo novel. Now, I generally never name anything until it's well underway, but this word just suddenly struck me today.

And it gave me the glimmer of a plot idea, too!

Of course, I've thought of three other great titles over the last few weeks, too, so who knows? Unfortunately, all three occurred to me just as I was drifting off to sleep and I never was able to remember them the next morning!


September 16, 2004 | 11:44 AM

Someone named Kellen told me he MIGHT be involved in my story, somehow, but he's not really committing. Hmmmm....we'll see, I guess.

And the name Wellington popped into my head yesterday as Cassie's last name. It seemed really familiar for about two seconds when suddenly a light turned on and I realized why it sounded so familiar - it's a name from the Trixie Belden series. So I decided not to use it.

So to sum up - I have Cassie [no last name] and maybe a guy named Kellen and not much else. As where Susan, lucky, lucky Susan, actually has a plot and is even doing serious research! You go girl! :)


September 10, 2004 | 8:39 AM

So, between my 5 day business trip in November (which is to Chicago so I will be disrupting Susan and Mary's NaNo schedule as well) and my annual Thanksgiving trip to Michigan which is at least 6 days, that leaves me NINETEEN days of November left to write. That works out to 2,632 words a day. I hope I can do it.

I'm not even going to TRY to be optimistic that I can get any writing done on my trips. While I am in Chicago, I'll be working all day and then at night there is the Weber Grill and The Italian Village and the Russian Tea House (obviously trying to capitalize on the Russian Tea Room's fame) and giggling and gabbing that will undoubtedly fill my time.

And let's not even THINK about RL getting in the way!

It's all about the characters

September 9, 2004 | 8:27 AM

So, lately I have noticed a recurring theme. Every time I think about my NaNo experience, I cannot help but think about how I never plotted anything the whole month. The main characters just jumped into my head and I let them talk. That's all I did. And that was the most wonderful writing experience I have ever had.


September 8, 2004 | 10:14 AM

At 12:46 this morning, Cassie very emphatically informed me that she is my protagonist in this year's NaNo story. Ummm, okay. This is good!

Step One!

August 12, 2004 | 10:01 AM

Well, the blog is tweaked and ready to go. The question is - will this distract me from my actual NaNo writing? It's a good way to procrastinate if nothing else! :)

See you in November!

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