Bagged the Big One

It’s now day five of NaNoWriMo, and I’m done. Actually, I got done a bit ago, but couldn’t bring myself to leave the chat room. Too much fun!

To recap: I set a goal, a month ago, to try for 7,000 words a day. That would do several things. First, I’d have to write. A lot. Which, as I understand it, is what NaNoWriMo is all about. To write that much I’d have to have a big ol’ pile of plot points, for more than one story, since only Melville, Marquez or Jordan can keep things rolling as the story moves through a couple hundred thousand words.

I began with a fairly straightforward (at least in initial concept) science fiction story, aimed mostly at teen readers. I’m about 60-70% of the way through the story at this point, which means I likely still have 70% more to write. Yes, editing does that. Also characters that won’t stay on script. Still, the story will be essentially as plotted, and once edited I expect it to be a nice, 65-80,000 word tale.

We’ll see.

First day, I got my goal, though just barely. I began at exactly midnight (local), at the write-in held in conjunction with the Austin region’s Halloween kickoff party. What a hoot that was! Meeting folks I’d known for years but never seen was worth the price of admission. (Free is good. And yes, Zach, you’re much taller than your picture.) Then seeing a rollicking party morph into a sea of computers operated by (mostly) silent authors, all in the matter of minutes, was inspiring. And more than a little spooky, in keeping with the theme of the evening.

By 2 A.M. the Dragon’s Lair (Thanks, folks! Great support, and my grammatically correct Dr. Whom shirt is awesome!) was emptying out, and the tired night crew were vacuuming up. I don’t know exactly how many actually showed; next year I’m going to see that an attendance book is filled out. Could easily have been upwards of 60, counting folks who came and left early due to inane interferences like family, work, sleep and so on. (Come ON, folks! Get a writer’s life here!)

I had just a paragraph of words more than 2,000. A nice start!

I slept in until just past 0600, then got into the saddle. Oh, not without starting the coffee cooker! (I’m crazy, but not necessarily foolish. I’ve got brothers to cover that for me.)

By evening I was one tired extinct dinosaur, and I had my first day’s production in the can. (Backed up, too.) Just a smidgeon past 7,000. I vowed to do more the next day, and trundled off to bed.

The second day I added 7,595 more bits to the pile of prose, though I got a fairly late start due to chores and hanging with Paula Jo. Word wars in the chat room got me past aching fingers. The story was grabbing hold of me, though; I knew I’d have a big day on Saturday. Spousalperson went to her brother’s house to hang curtains and otherwise hang with family while I bashed the board; it’s a tough life being a NaNoWidow, but she copes adequately.

Sure enough, Saturday was awesome. I made 12,000 words. My second-biggest output day ever! And, even though my fingerprints were completely sanded off by that point, I vowed to push harder on Sunday. I started at 3:30 A.M. (thanks to daylight saving time moving to daylight spending time), fortified with caffeine and supported by the felines and canines who own us. Their support amounted to sleeping a lot, but that worked fine. At 7 A.M. I made the write-in at Shipley’s, and even with all the chat and fine dining I made another 1,800 words. (I still don’t quite know who Big Earl was, or why Shipley’s turned him into sausage and stuffed him into the kolaches. Maybe a starter for a horror novel? But I digress.)

Sunday’s output exceeded expectations: 11,031 words! So I’d written almost half of the 50,000 words required to “win” NaNoWriMo’s annual challenge, in just two days! I was now within striking distance of the winner’s circle. Okay, it was likely a stretch, but I could do it. All I needed was about 18 hours clear, and plenty of liquid caffeine.

Monday’s start was encouraging, then I hit a slump. By evening I still wasn’t to 50,000, but I could see it. I felt so tired, though. I stepped into the chat room to see what was happening, and All Was Chaos! I fit right in that way, and soon I was embroiled in a series of word battles that took me over the top. And well past! I made 15,543 words, then my fingers rebelled. I went to bed, a grand total of over 53,000 words in the bag.

The elusive Impossapotamus was a trophy yet again!

I’ll slow down a bit now, but I still want that 7,000 a day. That seems like a small total, nowadays…

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