Gravely Amusing
NaNoWriMo: The Aftermath

So. Well then. November is over and done. I guess.

Month ago I announced I was intending to participate in this year’s nanowrimo and even win it. And well, I did and I returned my full-length novel on the last day (but with plenty of hours to spare!). The net length is about 50 176 words that makes over 300 000 characters. It’s about 80 pages long, but I bet that had I used spacing it would easily double that number.

Personally this all feels a bit anticlimactic. I won the thing and wrote the damn book, what now? December rolled in with no applause. Nothing really ended for me, except the daily quota of writing that I stressed about all the time.
I didn’t even finish the story as I noticed that the vikings didn’t even get to China!
You know, the place their adventures were supposed to set in.

And I won’t count the numerous scenes I want to write or rewrite or the characters I want to add. The story doesn’t nearly fit into 50 000, so there will be a sequel and another one. Atleast in my mind there is, I boasted that I’d write them next year, but I suppose I have better ideas by then.

Did I learn anything? Yes, loads. Most of all NaNoWriMo has been a huge learning experience for me. If you’d compare my prose in the beginning and in the end - you would probably kill me why I’d written such a thing.
For once, I thought I knew what “Show, don’t tell” mean, but still the first half of the novel is full of the characters thinking about what happened to them. It took about 25 000 words to notice the text was far more spacey, interesting and fun to write, if I chopped up that wall of text, wrote the things happening: the action, the discussions and everything.
Secondly I learned that even if the ideas seem so robust and vibrant in my mind and the characters so lifelike, I would still need to plan some things, such as vitals like character’s names and personality. Halfway through the story I got much more interested about my team of villains, because compared to the band of swedes that only had couple of named characters (names thrown in at random), the finns had a clear defining idea and their own hats to make them seem different from eachother. After I had realised that I managed to weave some of that stuff to the protagonists, so in the end they were not all such a bunch of blands.

Third, writing creates more writing. At the beginning of the month, I was worried that writing NaNo would not leave time nor focus to write anything else. On the contrary, I think I’ve written more than before even if I don’t count my daily allotment of novel-time. I’ve shown this blog more love (though I still need to pick a proper layout…), written poems and rustled up some fun ideas for short stories I could write next.
The experience also made me wish to try out other means as the “write the story as it goes” I used in the nano. I think I’ve read too much and written too little, as writing the end scene first feels somehow wrong to me. But to be honest, when the current scene grinds to a halt, it is much more productive to just write that scene lingering in your mind. The one you actually want to write. Even if it is another hundred pages in the future.

And to be honest, I don’t even feel emotionally exhausted as I thought I’d surely be. Morelike, there’s an empty spot inside me, where the nanowrimo used to be. A spot that wasn’t there before, and it yearns be to write more. I think I’ve awoken a beast that cannot be satisfied. Hopefully I’ve atleast gathered the proper tools to combat it.
I also discovered some nifty programs I wish to promote:

Write or Die (http://writeordie.com/) is a handy little thing that helped me finish the deadline on more than one occasion. One’d wonder how much a reddening screen can promote writing.
One piece of advice considering it: Disabling backspace is not as good an idea as it sounds like. First, delete and arrow keys still work so you quickly get other, just slower, means of correcting your typing. (And when you have the means, the urge returns, worse than ever.) Second, for some reason I made a lot more typo’s, when writing without backspace and the sheer weight of errors made me depressed and gave me maybe the worst writer’s block of the month. Enabling the button again cured it straight away.
Otherwise however, it’s a lovely little program that helps one focus to the writing at hand. Though I still recommend you edit it afterwards, especially if you’re writing something more important.

Next Scrivener (http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php) is a text editor designed for all kinds of projects, novel-writing being one of them. I didn’t have time to use it for my nano because I already had half of the thing in an Open Office document before getting this program, but I bet I’ll be doing my following projects using this. I like its layout more than yWriter, which I tried a year ago. I still haven’t used Scrivener as much as I want to, so there’s not much for me to say yet. I might make a post about it, if I discover anything I deem interesting (I don’t care about your opinion ;D ).

You can gauge my infatuation with these programs that I bought both of them. Before buying programs from the internet has been somewhat of an anathema to me, but I got smitten with Write or Die’s webapp, so I had to get the real deal and Scrivener seemed so full of potential. Money well spent.

It was a good month and I actually finished. I have to say I’m quite content with myself. Next I should just finish the essays I neglected in nano’s place…