Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An Ode to NaNoWriMo


Technically I finished NaNoWriMo yesterday, but between schoolwork (and yes, writing counts as schoolwork--yay homeschooling) and procrastination, I didn't have time to write a celebratory post. 

But today I'm making time because this is super exciting! 

Here are today's NaNo stats: 
On day 19, I was basically dead. I was on two consecutive retreats over the 18th, 19th, and 20th, so I got absolutely no writing done then. But somehow, with egging on from my mom, a lot of new Spotify tracks, and a miracle, I managed to pick it up and actually exceed my word count on the 28th. 

Yesterday I was really stretching my word count, so I added in a short story about two characters' backstory. That still didn't do it, so I filled up the last few thousand words with a completely unnecessary preface. Rejoicing in my victory, I copy/pasted my novel into the NaNoWriMo verifier, which promptly told me that I was a few hundred words short. 

WHAT. I put it into the verifier again, and it told me the same thing. Its word count program must be different from the Pages program, which doesn't really make sense to me--isn't it pretty clear what is a word and what isn't? 

Anyway, at this devastating news I thought of just putting four hundred "a"s in the document, but when I voiced that option to Mom she left me in disapproving silence. So I wrote a rushed postlude to my story in which three of the characters sit around drinking and complaining about word counters. Then they burst into song called "An Ode to NaNoWriMo." 

(A bit of back story: Mennorath has a telepathic cockroach named Skittles. That's really all you need to know.)

So without further ado, here's my postlude:

“There are a lot of ridiculous things going on in the writing world today,” Fnor grumbled over his cup of ale. 

“Exactly!” Mennorath agreed. “Like how our author can’t get her NaNoWriMo Winner Certificate because the word count on Pages is different from the word count on! What the heck are word counters thinking?” 

“Right!” Est agreed. “How hard is it to count?” 

“It’s sure a lot easier than writing,” Fnor said. “Our author spent a whole month writing this book. She must be pretty angry that her moment of victory turned out to be fake, due to programming discrepancies.” 

“Yep,” Skittles agreed telepathically. Only Mennorath could hear him, of course. 

“Really?” she thought to the cockroach. “You haven’t ever written anything in your life, so you can’t complain.” 

“You haven’t either,” Skittles thought back. 

“Yes, but do you see me complaining?” 

“Actually, yes.” 

Thankfully Mennorath was distracted by Fnor speaking up again. “I mean, who do computers think they are? They’re smarter than humans but for some reason they can’t figure out that humans hate them so much that it would be better off if the computer race just crawled into a cave and died.” 

There were grunts of affirmation all around the table, and Fnor went up to the bar to order more drinks.

When he returned, the three friends burst into song for no apparent reason. These were the words they sang, and the tune is no longer committed to mortal memory:

An Ode to NaNoWriMo 
(Written For Three Voices and a Telepathic Cockroach)

Upon a mare in a meadow fair
Sat a short blonde writer
She waved the flies all from her hair
So that they could not bite her

And on and on and on she wrote
And on and on the flies she smote
Until, with a lump in her throat, 
She hit the verifier

And then she sat and thanked her fate 
And Spotify and coffee
Until she sat and smacked her pate:
The word count was all off (ee)

All: And on and on and on she wrote
And on and on the flies she smote 
Until, with a lump in her throat,
She hit the verifier

At last! At last! There was a pause
And the writer just about died
For finally the ungainly maws 
Of word count had complied

And on and on and on she ate
(Shortbread and chocolate covered her plate)
Until, with “Good riddance!,”marking the date,
She smashed the dang computer

There you are! Writing a random song in a bar made me feel kind of Tolkien-esque. ;)

Have you ever had a frustrating experience with writing? What do you think of Tolkien's random songs?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Home Stretch (In Which I Break My Long Silence)

As I labor desperately to finish my rushed, 50,000 word magnum opus, I'm listening to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" on Spotify (the program which has saved my word count). The lyrics are strangely suitable for how I feel about my book so far:


Before you think you might want to read my story, be warned that it started out somewhat dark and just went downhill from there. I realized this when I was summarizing my story for a friend and I remarked that the plot for no apparent reason had turned rather dark after the first few chapters.

To which she pointed out, "Wow, after *insert depressing backstory* and *insert various terrible inciting events*, then it got dark."

Sarcasm is fantastic, especially how it reveals the truth better than just saying it directly. Maybe that's because sarcasm demonstrates how your train of thought instinctively doesn't make sense, rather than just stating the truth.

Anyway, that's how my story's going. It's kind of a downer (depending on what kind of books you like to read), the character development leaves me confused, and the plot holes are big enough to drop the main character's ego through.

So I'm very pleased. It's looking like I'll finish my 50,000 by the 30th, which is the main thing that matters right now. Right now I care more about writing a story than about making it perfect, which I think is the goal of NaNoWriMo.

Well, I'm off to listen to more eclectic music and to blow up some fictional ships! (The sailing vessels, not the pairing up of fictional couples).

Or maybe I'll just watch tv and keep writing later. Because that's how my writing process works.  :P

If you're interested, you can keep up with my word count with the widget on the left-hand side of my blog.

And for those who are also struggling to finish NaNo, best of luck.