Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NaNo2013 Post-mortem

*pokes the novel with a stick* *flop* Yeah, it's dead.

So this is the first year I've done NaNoWriMo and not hit 50000 words. Still, 25000 isn't that bad a number. It was a combination of factors that added up to me not writing.

  • Doctor Who! Between the missing episode rumors, the 50th anniversary excitement, and me going to the Doctor Who convention in Chicago at the end of November (plus visiting family for Thanksgiving), half my mental space was NOT on my novel at all. Ha. Well, the convention was fun! I went with my daughters and my daughter's friend who is a Who fan. Got to see and hear real live Doctor Who actors! And more Who fans in one place than I've ever seen (in person) before. And I also got to wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... in lines to get our picture taken with three Doctors. It was as bad as the Department of Motor Vehicles! Wait in one line, then move to the other one, get a pass, then wait in another line to get another pass, then wait in the waiting room, then wait in the line in the waiting room, then wait in the line outside the other room... Bah. By the time I was in front of the camera, I was completely dazed. Ok, so I'm not a people person. I hate having my picture taken. I don't do cosplay. The MST3King of "The Five Doctors" made my (younger) daughter cry. Fan conventions are clearly not my thing! But it was cool to go, once in my life!
  • "I'd rather be coding." So, usually, NaNo is a two-month endeavor for me. I spend October planning out what I'm going to write in November. Character, setting, plot, important scenes, etc. etc. This month I waited until the brink of November before seriously contemplating what to write. And even in the first week of November, I was thinking about things to put in my game instead of things to put in my novel. D'oh.
  • Outline. Yeah. Ok. I do need a plan. I'm terrible at making it up as I go along. This is not to say I don't make things up as I go along, but I need to have an outline first. I don't mean a complete formal outline. I usually just have a bunch of notes reminding myself of how the story goes (including an ending!) and a rough list of the important scenes. Sure, I add scenes and modify the outline as I go along, but there is always somewhere to go (in my mind, at least). This year, I didn't know. So I ended up with some short short stories to go inside the novel (1/3 of which were left dangling when I couldn't think of a plot for them), because I can think up a plot for a short story more quickly than for a whole novel so I could do them on the fly.
  • Wow, so light and easy! I'm much less burnt out after 25000 words than 50000.
  • I still need to finish the simple game project first, though. I mean, it's easier for me to make a playable game than a readable novel. (Not a polished game, just a playable one. Whereas the novel is readable for a bit, then suddenly explodes, leaving a horrible gory mess. Or disintegrates into a nasty puddle of incoherent goo. Or something.)

I still want to finish this novel, though. Maybe next year. I'll have to work out an outline first. I did have fun writing last month, even if it wasn't enough for the NaNo goal. And I still have to figure out just what the hell was going on with my plot! I want to know. Really. What was I thinking!? It must have made sense at the time.


  1. Clearly you had other things on your mind this November. :) That's okay. It happens!

    It happened to me one year when I tried to write a travel memoir. But I think that was less to do with "other things" and more to do with the fact that I wasn't swept up in a flurry of inspiration over trying to write my travel memoir. :)

  2. Well, I guess sometimes one's heart just isn't in it. And with neither heart nor money nor external threat, it ain't getting done. :-)

    I don't mind. I had plenty of fun in November!

  3. Hey Taisch,

    Thanks for Armageddon all those years ago. Don't know if I ever said thanks. After a wave of nostalgia swept over me, I started doing some googling, looking at old logs and such. Not to turn this babbling rant into something coherent, but thanks for what you did. Even though I don't think you and I ever got to know eachother very well, the gamespace you created molded my teenage years. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but it's a thing. And I'm certainly thankful for it, and you.

  4. Gabriel/Helel!

    Wow, it's been a long time. Thanks for playing/staffing, all those years ago. :-) Great to hear from you. Good old ArmageddonMUSH nostalgia! I actually did my NaNo novel one year based on the game. That was when I did a lot of reading of old logs. Crazy times!