Hecatonchires: My NaNoWriMo Novel For 2009
Posted by Doug on November 25, 2009
I started off the month of November with only a vague notion of what to write, and after about of week of floundering, I finally hit my stride, and managed to complete (in a manner of speaking) my novel by about 8 p.m. on the 22nd, a full week ahead of the deadline. According to the file properties in OpenOffice.org, I worked on the text for 180 hours 56 minutes overall, or an average of about 8 hours 13 minutes a day. I wrote 59,641 words (57,513 according to the NaNoWriMo word count validator), for an average typing speed of about five and a half words per minute. While I didn’t expect to be able to write fiction as fast as I can type (60+ wpm), this result surprised me.
According to the NaNoWriMo Twitter feed, only 3,315 would-be novelists out of 165,639 who registered for NaNoWriMo have completed their novels already. That’s about two percent. Yesterday’s word count tally was at 1,708,584,120 words written by 165,400 authors, or an average of 10,330 words written apiece. I’ve already received more of a reward than I was hoping for (see that little badge on the upper-right hand side of this blog?), but I didn’t really write because I was expecting anything for it. I have come to the conclusion that I write because I like to write. No higher purpose is necessary.
I wrote the entire novel on Hitagi, using OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, using a combination of the Linux Libertine O, Linux Biolinum, and DejaVu Sans fonts. Libertine O was my primary font; I used Biolinum for the speech of the espers (which was considered unnatural-sounding); and the inline notes used the DejaVu font, just because that apparently was my default and I never thought to change it. The inline notes should be embedded in the pdf; they are partly editing notes to myself, and partly my general thoughts on what I was writing.
It’s no Lord of the Rings. Heck, it isn’t even a passable Twilight. It isn’t even in the same genre as either of those, but those were the only books I could think of off the top of my head. But it’s mine, and I’m proud I managed to crank it out, so there. From here, I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. Maybe I’ll try to polish it up (I really think the story would benefit from being told in a nonlinear fashion, with copious footnotes on Japanese culture), and it might even benefit from one of my latest purchases, a copy of Lee Lofland’s Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for Writers.
I’ll definitely be doing NaNoWriMo next year, although I’ll probably set the bar a little higher for myself (at least 75,000 words long, all major plots must be resolved by the end, must be interesting to someone other than me). Still, if anybody bothers reading it, please drop me a line!