So, I’ve completed one more NaNoWriMo successfully. I still have a long way to go on the second space opera; I’m only about halfway through, and I already know some of the scenes I’ve already written will need some reworking. I am not entering my totals on the official NaNoWriMo website for the first time in a long time; I’ve not been happy with the direction the official site/organization have taken over the last few years, and I don’t expect that will change.
I’ve made some interesting discoveries, such as the fact that description, exposition and basic banter between established characters are the easiest things for me to dictate, while more “choreographed” elements (action scenes, high-drama conversations, etc) are easier to type. For dictation, my preference is to do seven minutes at a stretch, then clean up punctuation and misheard words for seven minutes or less, and then repeat the dictation/cleanup cycle.
If you’re curious, here’s what my wordcount totals by day looks like:
Got a little bit behind earlier this month and now I have to do 1900 words per day to finish on time. I tend to have fairly predictable “stallout” timeframes:
-The first one tends to be in the first week, usually 3-5 days into November if I push myself too hard in the opening days. I could blame my failing to write during November 4 and 5 on the issues with the US elections, but honestly, if that hadn’t distracted me, something else would have. I was right on schedule for a crash after getting ~7300 words in the first three days.
-Somewhere in between 20000 and 26000 words. This year, I started dragging badly at the 20000 word mark, which I reached on November 12. I think I went through a period of feeling tired/unwell roundabout then. I tend to need more sleep now than when I first started doing NaNoWriMo, about a decade and a half ago.
-I sometimes have another stallout around 30000-35000 words, and one in the 40000-45000 range. I hope I don’t get that this year. I don’t think I can afford another delay like the two I’ve had so far.
Cleaned house. Paid bills. Set up excel spreadsheets. National Novel Writing Month starts tomorrow, and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. This will be the sequel to the space opera novel I started for NaNoWriMo2019. I would really like to get my 50000 words done during the first half of the month, so I can focus on prepping for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the meantime, I found yet another variant on my unofficial NaNoWriMo theme song:
I finished polishing the space opera today. Final wordcount: 110685. Now it is in the hands of my volunteer first readers. Right now, I’m hoping for a Christmas/Boxing Day Feast of St. Stephen release, but that depends on what the first readers find, whether I can come up with a cover that I’m happy with, and what kind of mental shape I’m in come December, when I’ve finished with NaNoWriMo2020. In the meantime, victory dance!
There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, most of which I can’t do anything about. I will vote in my country’s elections when circumstances permit, I will pray for a good outcome from them, and I will try to be extra-nice to the poll-watchers in the family, because they deserve it. Aside from that, all I can do is focus on my day job and the writing….
State of the Space Opera: Somewhere between 66%-70% revised and polished. If I am very fortunate, I will be done with that by the end of October 2020 and hand it over to my volunteer editors/proofreaders for review. If things work out, I will spend December 2020 prepping it for publication.
State of the Space Opera’s Sequel: Completed a rough outline in Excel, ran it through Word, and imported to Scrivener. I hope to start writing it on November 1 for NaNoWriMo2020.
State of the Space Opera Series as a Whole: Right now, I am not sure whether it wants to be 3 books or 4. If the first two don’t sell significantly better than the Jaiya metaseries did, the space opera series will definitely end up as a trilogy.
Further down the pipeline: revision and cover refresh for the Ancestors of Jaiya series, along with a single volume collection. A concept for a high fantasy series: just a character, plus a vague idea of the setting. (This is about the stage of development the space opera was at in 2015-2016.)
Yesterday, I celebrated my country’s freedom from bad cooking, Received Pronunciation, and taxation without representation. Tomorrow, I will celebrate my temporary freedom from first drafting. You see, tonight I finished the first draft of the longest book I have ever written. The space opera I’ve been trying to write for years finally came together.
Happy start of spring! Fantasy author Katherine Wibell has organized a freebie giveaway on Prolific Works (the website formerly known as Instafreebie). She has pulled together a collection of stories and sample chapters that speak of worlds not quite like ours. Some of the covers may not be “safe for work,” but there is a wide variety of worlds and stories represented here.
My contribution is a sample chapter from Slaying a Tyrant, the first book in the Ancestors of Jaiya series: G-rated cover, PG-rated content. Feel free to check it out, if you don’t already have a copy.
I stumbled across a discussion elsewhere about being attacked by plot bunnies: new story ideas that are unconnected (or only tenuously connected) to what you are currently working on. If you pause the current project and try to start this new one, the new one will usually peter out quickly, leaving you with two unfinished projects instead of just one.
I used to do this a lot, myself. I think it was either in 2014 or 2015 when I was bound and determined to do CampNaNoWriMo in the spring. I ended up starting three different versions of “and then the princess walks into the space cantina and tries to hire the psychic smuggler who will later end up being her love interest.” I stalled out on all of them, in between coming up with some very weird outlines for related ideas. I’m not having a lot of trouble with “plot bunnies” right now, and I’d like to take stock of why that is, so that I can refer back to this post if they ever come back. To my mind, the main factors are these: