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That’s a winner! November 29, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Novel-writing month, Writing.
1 comment so far

Actually, I guess I should say I’m a winner – because that’s what this graphic I was able to download once I finished and officially validated my National Novel Writing Month story said!

Yes, I just finished about an hour ago. This is my third year doing NaNoWriMo, my third time winning by completing a novel of at least 50,000 words and my shortest novel yet at 50,500 words. Or, according to the NaNo site’s validator, it’s actually 50,447 words. (How did I lose three words along the way?) Regardless, it’s above 50,000. That was my only goal.

As I wrote two weeks ago, the story is kind of a mess. It didn’t miraculously get better as I wrote more and more. But it was even more fun to research and relive the Cardinals 2006 post-season than it was to look back at September. Now that I’ve done that, I definitely need to go back and watch game seven of the NLCS again, along with all the World Series victories. It was wonderful just to read about them and see the clips still available on the MLB site. (Click here and then click on the score for the game of your choice. You’ll find all the articles about the game plus video highlights.)

I had to finish the story tonight, as I’m headed out of town for a work meeting tomorrow and have a busy rest of the week and weekend ahead. So it likely will be several days before I even think more about the story, which is fine. I need to decompress. And I know I have major, major work ahead once I dive back into it for draft number two.

But, in the meantime, I can feel good about this year’s NaNoWriMo accomplishment. And, truthfully, if you’re at all interested in writing, I’d encourage you to do it next year. Yes, it takes commitment and work. But it can be done, and the end result – plus downloading all the “winner” goodies – is a well earned sense of satisfaction. Plus an actual novel that you wrote.


Halfway there November 15, 2010

Posted by Christine Coleman in Novel-writing month, Writing.

It’s the middle of November, so halfway through National Novel Writing Month. And just tonight I officially reached the halfway point of the required 50,000 words, finishing today with 25,546 words and 88 pages of a Word document.

I am happy with my progress. Things have been busier than I anticipated this month, but that’s life. As for my story, well – it’s a first draft. The scope of what I’m trying to write about is way too broad and needs a much narrower focus. But I can’t really change it at this stage, in this draft. (Yes, there would be some benefits to doing an outline and preparing more for this before the month begins. Oh well, can’t do a thing about that now!)

I like Maggie, who’s trying to figure out what to do with her life as she turns 40 and has had only one successful relationship in her life: the one she has with her baseball team, the Cardinals. She’s smart and a smart-ass and an unhappy lawyer who lives in Chicago instead of her hometown of St. Louis and she loves baseball. And, though it’s not at all autobiographical, she loves Chris Carpenter. It’s taking place in 2006, because I liked the built-in happy ending of that baseball season. Maggie takes the month of September off work and goes to every Cardinals game, starting with her birthday on the 1st. (That’s why she’s a lawyer. I was trying to think of a career where she could make a lot of money to do such a thing. Maybe that’s not realistic either, but it’s a first draft!) Though I’m not writing about every game, only a few, a month plus the playoffs is still far too much to try to really cover.

It’s been interesting to go back and look at those games in September 2006. I’d forgotten how painful things really were during the seven-game losing streak that ended during the last week of the season, where the Cards nearly coughed up a seven-game lead. (Perhaps that’s because I choose to remember only the good, and there was a lot of good once October arrived.) I’ve found two players listed in box scores who I have no recollection of whatsoever: John Nelson and Mike Rose, bit players even by September call-up standards. Aaron Miles makes an appearance in my story, an actual speaking part. (Why? He seemed logical at 4:30 one morning last week.) There’s a major intrusion by a character, Kyle, I wasn’t even planning to have in this story at all – he’s from my “Summer of ’94” story, only obviously older and in a different dynamic when he meets Maggie. (Of course it was at a ballgame.)

I have vague ideas of where this is going. As with most of my stories, I do know by now where it’s going to end. It’s the getting from here to there that always presents the challenge. And, as in past NaNos, I might be skipping chunks of time (to fill in later) just to move the story along.

One thing I do know: I have to finish on Nov. 29, because I’m going out of town for work on Nov. 30. But I would like to be done before then anyway – Nov. 28 is my goal, since it would be nice to finish it on the weekend. I’m doubtful that I will be much beyond 50,000 words this year, but that’s okay. The challenge has been worth it, and I’m looking forward to the end result … so I can start to get a grasp on what this story really should be. There are enough interesting bits in the current wide meanderings that I’m looking forward to diving back into it and shaping it into something much better.