Post Mortem (or, NaNoWriMoNoNoNoNo)

Having just produced a story every day for a month which is meant to be drawing-type people making a picture per day, I have some things to say about the exercise.

Gosh, I’m tired.

It was fun, to be certain, but it underlines why I’m absolutely not embarking on the author-centric NaNoWriMo which sets sail today. Even if I could maintain the energy, I cannot hope to find the time. This month saw me not attending to some important stuff in pursuit of staying ahead of the self-imposed daily demand, and…

OK, let’s talk boring numbers. NaNoWriMo’s goal is 50,000 words. Over the past month, I’ve managed just over 19,000 words, which even those who are not very good at math will notice is rather fewer. It’s possible that I could have managed more if my wife hadn’t also been directing a play for the local little theatre, because she needed rides and I spent the whole of last Saturday evening watching the production and someone needs to make dinner.

Even so, I really don’t think I have the energy for that. If someone else helpfully points out “Oh, it’s just first draft for NaNoWriMo,” I will respond that the whole of the last month is (as if no one had noticed) not particularly polished. I generally work to a three-or-more-draft plan:

      1. Get the thing on paper, long-hand;
      2. Get something sensible/coherent out of that, transcribing into the computer;
      3. After getting someone else to read it and point out that it’s not actually making sense, re-work the dopey bits.
      4. Repeat 3 if it seems needed.

There can be some repeats of steps 1 and 2, as well; I may get most of the way through the long-hand phase, realize that the point-of-view or the tense or some other foundational matter just isn’t working and start afresh, pen dancing across lined pages. I did ALMOST NONE of that over the past month, working on the keyboard directly like, someone living in the modern era (eugh!), and getting feedback perhaps by reading things aloud to my wife when she had five minutes she could give me.

So, “you only have to do a first draft” doesn’t buy me a lot of extra output. I don’t even want to get into the problems of those 50,000 words having to connect to each other somehow, one unified story rather than thirty-one little isolated events without any cross-referencing. Yike.

I also wonder if it has been entirely wise to thrust my partially-formed creations into the world. I’ve certainly had a lot of extra traffic here, but people also slow down and gawk at traffic accidents.

I also wonder, of those who have newly started following this little exercise of mine (Hi, by the way; I am glad you’ve come) might not have been give a false sense of my usual pace of update. It may be a little while before I make a noise here again folks. Like I said, I’m tired.

I may do it again next year, all the same, possibly starting on Hallowe’en rather that at the beginning of the month, so most of what I do happens in the writing month rather than the drawing one. I did enjoy it, after all, and I managed to get my wife to call me a monster at least twice, which is wonderful.

Gomez and Morticia Addams, from original TV show
An artist’s impression of my marriage. We occasionally argue over who fits which role better, but not with any bitterness.

To tie the whole thing up, I’ll mention that I have made good on my promise to create a permanent digest of the stories in The Back Files– there’s even a handy calendar-based table of contents.

I’m off to have a rest. Winter is upon us, here in the Land of the Devouring Living Skies, and sensible creatures should be hibernating at the bottom of a pond.

Published by

Dirck

Fountain pen fancier and repairer, intermittent intellectual, underfunded anarcho-dandyist, and self-admitted writer of fiction, who's given to frequently wishing everything he wrote of a nonfictional sort was being read aloud by Stephen Fry, and everything else by either Vincent Price or Christopher Lee.

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