Life During Nano: The week in wordcount.


It’s always an exciting moment. November 1st. The first day of NaNoWriMo. And let me tell you, Readership, this time I was ready. I was primed. I knew my story, I knew my characters. I was plotted up and ready to go. I stepped onto a slightly slower train than usual at Reading, all the better to get a good start on the day’s wordcount. It was perfect. There was a seat with a table for my coffee, and room to perch my netbook. I had the software I needed, I had my backup strategy sorted out. I was good, as any number of eighties action movie icons would tell you, to go.

I opened my netbook. It was dead. I’d forgotten to charge it. And of course, I was on a train with no handy power outlets. Not, I have to say, the best of starts.

I coped by using my phone. I’ve quietly refined my typing skills to the point where I can double-thumb with pleasing rapidity. But even I was surprised to see that I’d managed over 700 hundred words on that first morning. It’s not an experiment I’d choose to replicate, but it’s good to know I can do it if I need to.

What this shows is that Nano is about getting the wordcount, any which way you can, in any way that suits you. Do it on the kitchen table. Do it on your lunchbreak. Do it like me, on the train or the bus. Yes, I’m still talking about writing, mostly.

Nano does funny things to your head. It makes you write and think in much longer sentences than you would normally. It’s always there, nagging at the back of the head. Have you done your words? Why haven’t you done your words? Why are you hoovering? Shouldn’t you be writing?

And the world around you becomes fair game. That funny thing the old dear in front of you said on the bus? You can use that in the book. That silly thing that happened at work today? You can use that in the book? That book you’ve been reading? You can use that in… oh, maybe not.

There are, of course, the freaks of nature that will finish Nano in absurdly short periods of time. Four days. Although there are writers on the forums that had hit 300,000 words in a week. The mind boggles and the fingers tingle at the thought of that much writing. I’m at … well, have a look to your left. See the widget? That’s how well I’m doing. At the time of writing I’m at 17,000 words, which will get me to the 50,000 word mark a day or so early, although I’m planning on improving on that. The story has a long way to go yet, and I’m enjoying the way it’s changing and reforming under my fingers. The John Carpenter influences are coming out a lot more clearly than I’d expected, which means the story is much more actiony and horrific than I’d thought. None of this is a problem. I’d planned on a big, fast-moving story. And hoo boy, that’s what I’ve got.

A gentle reminder that I’m posting every word I write this month up in the Ghosts Of The Moon link above, so feel free to read and comment. Pointing out spelling mistakes and grammatical errors will be met with hollow laughter. This is writing in the raw, Readership. Out of my head and into your hands. Fiction doesn’t get any purer than that.



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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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