Monday, November 27, 2006


A little after midnight, I posted my file to the NaNo site for verification, and was made an official winner for this year. They even gave me this hideous certificate before asking me for money (twice).

I do feel a sense of accomplishment, although not as much as I though I would. I wrote more than 8,000 words today, though, and I'm a bit tired. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel like shouting from the rooftops, or at least putting one of the larger "Winner" banners up.

For now, though, this feels like a small victory. Now that I know I can do it, the challenge is to do it all over again, but at a legitimately publishable length, with a story I'd like to tell. I'll probably revisit this manuscript in a few months and see if there's a book in it somewhere. My guess though is that I'll salvage it for parts and get a handful of short stories out of the thing. "That old novel is worth money," if the Victory Auto Wreckers maxim applies to writing.

I can't get over how atrocious the certificate is. It's so bad, it's almost good. I remind myself, however, that this was not a design competition. A design competition would likely never be about quantity. If someone wants you to design, say, 50 different pages in a month, that's just a job, and not a terribly exciting one, either.

I want to thank those of you who've been so encouraging this month as I've been working through this sometimes fun, mostly ghastly, process. Special thanks are required for Craig, who quite literally pulled this from the ashes back when I had less than 10,000 words and wanted to throw it away. Also to CC2383 and my mom, who sent me emails throughout the month to encourage and congratulate me.

Getting such a late start, I was using Julia Buckley's progress as a marker to see where I should be (since Zorak163 had like 20,000 words before I even got started). I used her progress again to motivate me today, since it was clear I was falling behind, and didn't want my friend Ian to be right when he suggested that it wouldn't be out of character to completely stop so close to completion. And the important thing here is that I finished before Julia, which means that I am better than her in every way.

I reread the first 40,000 words the other night, and was surprised to find that I actually liked the first third of it. There are some obvious problems, but overall, it was a good feeling to not have all of it suck. Somewhere after that, though, the true spirit of NaNo kicked in, and I was focused almost entirely on quantity. This is when the plot fell apart, characters changed personalities (sometimes repeatedly) and the writing became thick and incomprehensible. I found myself stopping myself from using one word when eight could be used. I think I repeated myself a few times, and there are several points where the entire tone shifts and the story leaps into some weird place that I don't think I would have taken it to if I were still editing each day.

Anyway, you all probably have one more NaNo post to groan your way through before I get back to writing about what kind of pudding I like (you'll find out!) and grim anecdotes about finding weapons in unexpected places (See: It may have been a katana and I am neither athletic nor particularly lucky, both from September, before London and NaNo took over completely.).


Julia Buckley said...


It's a bit early in the day at the moment, but I am definitely going to think of a crushingly witty response very soon. And when I do I am going to be straight over here posting it on your comments.

So you'd better watch out.

The Moon Topples said...

"Ooh, Julia! I'm so scared," he said, in a voice that was not at all scared. His tones and inflections were neither scaredy nor 'fraidy.

And that's how you can get 50,000 words, too.

CC2383 said...

Well done! Don't stop writing just because November and NaNo are over. But now you have to go back to work now huh? That sucks! Congratulations!!

The Moon Topples said...

cc: don't worry, I'm not done writing. I have a good 18 pages on another novel already, mostly written earlier in the month, but ready to be addressed. It'll be nice to be able to plot things out rather than improvising.

And yeah, work is starting up again at the end of the week, but I see no reason why that should stop me from writing. After all, most NaNo completers had a legitimate job during the month when they wrote their novels.

How did your story turn out?