until NaNoWriMo 2012 ends!

Friday, November 30, 2007


90,517 words and a complete novel draft.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Full Speed Ahead

I had planned to take yesterday off from my writing. The story was going well (I knew where it was going now and was confident I could finish it by month end) and I hadn't taken a day off all month. My local library is closed on Wednesdays, and my home was not at all conducive to writing, so I headed out to do some other things.

The day passed pleasantly enough, but I was bothered by the fact that I hadn't written. It was a persistent itch that I just HAD to scratch, but it was 8 PM by the time I realized I wasn't going to be able to get away with a day off, and I was tired and groggy. So I downed a can of Monster...

... and I played solitaire.

For hours.

"What was the problem Laura?" you ask. "You said you were gung-ho to write and you know where the story is going now."

I'll tell you: The problem was those pesky polls.

When I started this project back on November 1st, I really didn't know what the story was going to be about. I had no plot and no characters and was just making things up as I went along, so I figured that whatever direction my readers wanted me to take the story would be fine.

Then I posted the first poll.
And I was stressed out. I was worried for my poor character (who'd I'd only just made up that afternoon). What would you all make her do?

I forced myself to get over my overprotectiveness. I'd promised daily polls so we were going to do daily polls.

Then I found that the polls were starting to crimp my pacing. My own fault that, totally, because I kept asking questions the answers to which needed to be acted upon within the next moment -- but my readers have almost 24 hours to respond to each poll. Made it a little difficult for me to advance time for a bit there.

Then I wised up and started to ask questions that didn't need to be answered until tomorrow. That worked much better. I learned to go with the flow and create the story from whatever the readers wanted. I soared through 50,000 words on November 17th and the world was all blue skies ahead.

So why did I spend last night playing solitaire and stressing out instead of writing?

Because I'm running out of good poll questions.

I thought I had an idea for one, but it was four or five scenes away. I didn't really have time to worry about whether or not I would be able to write that much in one night, however, as I immediately realized that "Should India do an interesting, heroic thing that might help to advance the plot or should she stay home and sulk?" was a pretty lame question. (Although, surpassed in lameness by the alternative: Should Cleopatra wear a red shirt or a black shirt today?)

The trouble is, I now know where the story needs to go in order to reach a satisfying conclusion by the end of the month, but my readers don't. So...

I've decided to put the polls on hiatus for a week. I'm making an executive decision that I've fulfilled my polling commitment since I ran them daily through the first 50K -- which was the official word count goal. This final week is the icing on the cake, and I need to be able to run with it.

I would like to thank the people who have been reading and voting regularly for your support. I hope you will continue to visit Raindancing Dragons as I am still updating the story daily (it appears that I won't be taking a day off after all!) and we're just starting to get to the juicy part.

I will have one final poll for you which, while it doesn't have the power to be a plot-killer, will I hope at least be of some interest, so watch for that on November 29th. (Yes, I aim to be writing right through to the end of the month at this point and finish in style on November 30th.)

Back to the grindstone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Coming Together

56,132 words so far.

Sometime last week I actually figured out where my story needs to go, so I took some time over the past couple of days to storyboard out what needs to happen with everybody so that they can all get to where they need to be. It turns out that I've written very close to two thirds of the scenes my novel needs so far, which is sweet seeing as how we are now two thirds of the way through the month.

Write on!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Massively Interview

I'm interviewed by Akela Talamasca on Episode 19 of "On the Inside" available online now at Massively:

all about NaNoWriMo and the SL Wrimos!

Bragging Rights

Bragging Rights

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ready for the Final Sprint

Just cleared 45,000 words tonight.
My word count for the day was a hair short, but I just finished up a nice little character scene and am in a good spot to stop for the night and pick up the adventure again in the morning.

Tomorrow night I do not intend to sleep until I have crossed the 50K line.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Report from the Trenches -- Mid NaNo

I signed off last night with 43,189 words in the bank.
I could write less than 500 words per day for the rest of the month and still complete the NaNo word count. My story is obviously not going to be finished in so few words, however, but if I keep going at a minimum 2000 words per day pace for the remainder of the month, I think I will be able to complete the first draft of the whole story by month end.

That's the goal at this point, at any rate. Finish the story by the end of November. I have the house to myself this weekend so expect to be able to put in some serious time on this thing.

The SL Wrimos are still going strong and in-world write-ins remain a popular method for boosting members' word counts. On my local front, folks aren't so keen to get together. Last night was the only meeting scheduled actually within the month of November and most of our number did not show up. Some had conflicts, others were perhaps too busy writing. The rest? I don't know. Chalk it up to November in Ontario. It was a cold night. The type of weather that, when we get it in March, everyone runs outside in short-sleeved shirts singing, "Spring is here! Spring is here!" but in November just feels COLD.

On the personal front, everything is going as well as or better than I had expected -- save for the whole sleeping reasonable hours bit. I'm still up till ~ 2AM writing most mornings. I shall make another stab at turning that around in the back end of the month but it's definitely a challenge given my limited access to quiet places to work.

Storywise, I'm at the point now where my plot is really starting to come together -- and I need it to come together now -- which makes the whole reader-polling aspect of the process a challenge, but I'm learning to ask questions which will enable me to get to where I need to be, regardless of which direction I need to take to get there, and which are hopefully still of interest to my readers. I confess that I did consider asking really leading questions in an attempt to convince my readers to vote the way I want them to vote, but I decided that would be cheating (not to mention dangerous if I got troublemakers voting deliberately against the grain!) Back on October 31st, when none of my characters had been created yet, I did not anticipate caring this much about them!

NaNo Wordcount Scoreboard

I found MY region on the NaNoWriMo web site last night.
It wasn't there when I signed up for NaNo at the beginning of October. Not certain if the region is new or if it just wasn't showing up back then. ( had a lot of problems when it first went online for the new season.)

My word count didn't get allotted to my new region until this morning. It's a very small region, so the jump in word count is mighty obvious on the graph. There are only two people associating word counts with the region at present, in fact. My count alone dragged us up from next to the bottom of the heap to surpass Margaret River, North Central Ohio, Richmond Indiana, Sri Lanka, Lompoc California, Tanzania, Ellis County Texas, Pakistan and Africa: Elsewhere. The jump in average words per author is, of course, more impressive. We went from 346th place to 8th place overnight.

Ah, the joys of statistics.

Check In and NaNo Projection

2393 words today.
43,189 words to date.

I anticipate crossing the 50K mark on Saturday.
The story won't be done at that point, but don't worry. I'll just keep writing until it is.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Monster Writing

I downed another can of Monster Energy "Natural Health Product" tonight.

My brain had been sluggish all day. Went to the noon-hour SL Wrimos write-in hosted by PhoebeAnn. Wrote 108 words in 45 minutes. Bah! My focus just wasn't there and my brain wanted sleep.

Various and sundry distractions and other responsibilities kept me away from writing throughout the rest of the afternoon and into the early evening, but I'd vowed to top 40K before my head hit the pillow tonight, so I cracked open the caffeine juice and it got me where I needed to be:

2996 words today.
40,796 words to date.
And to all a good night!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another Late Night

3242 words today.
37,800 words to date.

I had a full scene written and over 2000 words by 9 p.m., but I needed to put a button on it to allow for a poll question that wouldn't stall my plot, and lots of distractions got in the way of my crafting that little button. No matter. The word count continues to rise, and tomorrow we have two write-ins in Second Life. One more sleep before 40K.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Long Short Day

1953 words today.
34,558 words to date.

It's my first short day (under 2000 words) since this quest began, but I'm not worried about today's meager word count. My local library has been closed for two days in a row (ah, the joys of living in a small town) so I have had nowhere to write since Saturday afternoon at 3 other than the noisy, distraction-heavy house in which I reside.

I really don't want to be writing this novel in the wee hours of the morning, but this is the only time I can get long periods of quiet without interruption at home. Tomorrow, however, my library is actually open for seven whole hours! I plan to camp out for several of those and pound out some words.

I'm finally starting to get the hang of offering my readers poll questions which don't need to be decided in the next minute of my characters' lives -- a very good thing because I really need to start advancing the story through some time here so that I can advance the plot!

Monday, November 12, 2007

SL Wrimos Rock the Metaverse

Well, we rock the word count metres at any rate!

We had our second in-world write-in today and the fingers were flying, committing text to screens.

Of the seventeen gathered for today's meeting, everyone made good progress on their word counts with seven people clearing 1000 words during our timed hour. I squeaked just over the 1500 word mark in the hour myself, but the biggest kudos today go to Samantha and Skell who were really in the zone and both cleared 2000 words in an hour! Way to go mates!

My total words for today: 2441
and to date: 32,605

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Off Again

I had completed my daily word count minimum by 10:30, really I had.
30K just looked so close. I couldn't sleep without tasting it.

So, here I am. Signing off to bed three hours late. But I feel good.

3438 words today.
30,164 words to date.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Back on Track

I put in some solid time this afternoon and managed to get back on schedule for a 10:30 log off tonight. Going to try for 6:30 a.m. yoga again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

3367 words today.
26,721 words to date.

The NaNo folks have finally published Paul Hawke's word count widgets. There's some pretty neat stuff there. Check out the badge on Raindancing Dragons and click through to read my "Progress Report".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Plot Thickens

2750 words today.
23,354 words to date.

Eight days into NaNoWriMo and I've just squeaked by the word count minimum needed for the end of week two to stay on par with the baseline pace. That's reported to be a tough number to achieve, with 95% of Wrimos trailing behind pace at the end of week two. Here I am, six days ahead of the baseline with no end of words in sight -- but I don't think I'm any further along in my story than I would be if I was on par with baseline today and had a story I could actually wrap up in 50,000 words. I've thrown a lot of stuff out there so far that I still need to bring together -- like the fact that one of my main characters is still in a different galaxy from everyone else!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Report from the Trenches -- One Week In

1. Word Count

Baseline: 11,669
My Goal: 14,000
My Actual: 20,604

Baseline is the 1667 word per day daily minimum required to reach 50,000 words by the end of November.

The NaNoWriMo statisticians report that only 5% of Wrimos are on or above par with the baseline pace at the end of week two. Being this close to the week two baseline target after only one week, I don't think I have anything much to worry about on the word count front. (Of course, no one who knows me ever imagined that I would, including myself. The real challenge for me is going to be making it to the end of my story by the end of the month. That is shaping up to be considerably more than 50,000 words away.)

2. Blogging

I have posted to both this blog and Raindancing Dragons daily so far, however, since I normally post at the end of my day, and my schedule was shifted later on November 3rd due to an external cultural engagement, that day shows as missing from both blogs because I didn't get a chance to update until after midnight.

3. Yoga

My morning yoga sessions have been going well, although they haven't always occurred at 6:30 a.m. (see notes on Schedule below).

The first day my Sun Sals felt okay and I strove for good form in each pose. Days 2 and 3, I felt the previous days' exertions in my shoulders and arms. Day 4 I was staying with a friend and had not brought my yoga mat with me, so I flew through my Sun Sals at a fast pace, not worrying about form at all. Simply trying to avoid slipping on the carpet. Today, for the first time, my yoga actually felt good.

At the beginning of the week, my dog slept right through my morning yoga. Recently she has taken to "helping" me:

Helping Laura do Yoga

Helping Laura do Yoga

Practicing yoga with a dog is perhaps not the best way to encourage proper form in one's poses, but it sure makes for lots of laughter!

4. Mileage

Pretty much right on track for four miles a day. Many of them I have hiked by myself, however. Princess Kendal isn't too enamoured with my outdoor activity plans now that the weather has turned cold and wet.

5. Diet

Right on track here with three square meals a day. Following the Canada Food Guide. Snacking on fresh fruit and Optimum Energy Bars (they're organic, well-balanced, were recommended to me by my dietitian friend and they actually taste good!)

I do have one confession to make regarding diet. Previous to last night, I had not consumed caffeine for medicinal reasons since 1992 and had planned on getting through NaNoWriMo without the drug. The November greys have been effecting me with a strong urge to hybernate however (not something the Californians considered when they shifted NaNoWriMo from summertime to November, I'll wager). When 5PM rolled around yesterday and I had not written my first word of the day, I hiked down to the drug store to buy a bottle of juice and walked away with a can of Monster. I don't plan on making this a regular habit, but 2841 words later, I had written the most adrenaline-packed chapter of my story so far.

6. Schedule

Rising before the sun is over-rated.

I am going to keep trying for the rest of the month to give the idea a fair shot and because my house is actually quiet in the early morning, but come December 1st, I'm pretty sure I'll be falling back to a 7 a.m. rise at the earliest.

7. SL Wrimos

We made it to the century mark in membership and beyond. (125 at last count.) No one has touched the blog so far this month (which is how it should be this early in the game) but in-world meetings are going well. Last Sunday's write-in was a big hit and group members are starting to plan more write-in times in addition to the weekly one I host.

Activity on our forum thread remains high, there have been several excellent entries in my word-of-the-day challenges, and a friendly competitive spirit is developing amongst team members. Everyone is loving Sodovan Torak's word count titlers which were updated frequently during Sunday's write-in, with everyone present cheering whenever a group member logged an important milestone.

8. Local Wrimos

I finally did meet up with some other local Wrimos on October 31st. I neglected to get NaNo IDs from anyone, however, so have not been in touch with the group since. Next meeting is mid month.

Things Heat Up in Dragonland

2841 words today.
17,509 words to date.
1 can of Monster Energy Drink.
New poll online. Go. Vote.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

November 5 Update

2059 words today.
14,668 words to date.
Another late night.
I need to get back on schedule.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bed Time

3305 words today for a total of 12,594 to date.
I'm working a bit late tonight, but the new poll is online.
More news tomorrow.

Technical Difficulties

2085 words today for a total of 9287 to date.

My apologies that there is no new poll. I'm on the road today and have been having difficulties acquiring a connection to the Internet. Hopefully all should be back on track November 4.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day Two

3080 words today for a two-day running total of 7202. I'm still ahead of schedule and have a new poll for you up on Raindancing Dragons.

Ah the polls. Those crazy polls. When I first thought them up, they seemed like such a great idea! The perfect way to keep me -- the uber-organized planner -- firmly anchored in the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants spirit of NaNoWriMo! Well, I wasn't wrong about that, but they sure are stressing me out!

I got off to a great start yesterday. Pounding out slightly more than twice my daily word count goal. Creating characters and whole storylines on the fly. I was feeling good. Then I posted my first poll and went to bed.

Well, I tell you, I could not sleep! I tossed and turned most of the night, worried about what my readers would do to poor little Diane Helice Callisto. She'd only been in existence a few hours when I handed her off to you with a BIG decision to make, and already I cared too much about what happened to her! (And the NaNo experts all tell you, "Write something completely new for NaNo. That way, you won't care about it too much and you will be able to do what you'll need to do in order to complete the challenge." Hmph!)

When I dragged my sorry carcass out of bed this morning at 6:36 a.m., I felt somewhat the worse for wear. Still, I persevered. Did my yoga. Wrote my words. Walked my dog. And posted another poll for you all.

"And what did become of poor Diane?" you ask. Well, the final vote was tied. Now I'm faced with a new dilemma: Do I cast the deciding vote myself, or somehow attempt a compromise between the two positions? You'll have to wait until tomorrow night to find out.

In the meantime: Go. Vote. Take good care of India for me.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The First Poll is Up

Did my yoga, ate three square meals, walked my dog twice, and wrote four thousand one hundred and twenty two words today. Now it's your turn.

Diane Helice Callisto has had a rough year, losing her job under disturbing and inappropriate circumstances and breaking up with her girlfriend in the bargain, but Diane has recently received an offer which, if accepted, will transport Diane thousands of light years away from her old troubles to a new and exciting life on a distant planet. Should Diane stay at home, attempt to work things out with her old flame and rebuild her life, or accept this new challenge and fly away to new adventures? You can help to decide Diane's fate by voting in the web poll on Raindancing Dragons but only if you vote soon. Each poll is only open for one day!

And We're Off!

1961 words down the hatch this morning.

No new poll for you to vote on yet -- only the prologue is posted so far -- but have no worries, I have another writing session again this afternoon and will post again with something new for you to vote on before the day is out.

In the meantime, go be intrigued by the prologue -- and vote in the fun pre-NaNo poll if you haven't done so already. (I've heard of people incentivising their NaNoWriMo quests by betting people on their success or failure in the mission -- but so far no one has voted that they think I cannot do this!)