sunrise over swamps

sunset over melancholy seas

Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Aftermath

I had a great Nanowrimo – and promptly ran out of opportunities to summarise the experience! If I get a breather in the next week I’ll write something.

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Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Days 29 to 30

A dragonfly I saw on a bridge. Taken on an iPhone 5C. November 2013.

A dragonfly I saw on a bridge. Taken on an iPhone 5C. November 2013.

Here’s a photo I took yesterday, just to keep this post looking pretty!

Friday 29 November. 10.55 AM.

I just had a quick read through my previous NaNoWriMo 2013 Journal posts. It is amazing how much growth one can go through in a month. In the almost four weeks I have worked on this project, I have nearly reached the end and am still in with a chance. I will try to do a follow-up “How it all affected me” post in early December; for now, I have just under 7,000 words to write before the cut-off time for novel validation. It’s been quite a journey!

Thank you to the readers who followed my blog during this time. I appreciate the support you have shown through the “Like” functions. I try, whenever possible, to follow up all the wordpress likers and followers and see what you’re posting on your blogs. I am humbled that so many excellent writers and lovers of good books have been kind enough to show their support. I very much appreciate it. Now, back to writing!

Friday 29 November. 2.30 PM.

Current word count: 45, 326 words out of 50, 000.

Listening to a mix of Eluveitie, Wintersun, Amorphis and Amon Amarth (most of whom have a viking/Celtic folk vibe). I will not apologise if my science fiction novel turns out to be nothing but a thinly disguised Viking adventure, with a few Celtic warriors thrown in for good measure. As it is, it’s already headed in that direction. Also, I’m pretty sure my lead male characters look like a composite of the typical lead singer of any popular Nordic heavy metal singer you can imagine. Let’s face it, that’s about as attractive as it gets. (Not sarcasm.)

I am being forced to take a break. Good mums don’t forget to pick up their children from school, even if they are deeply immersed in describing just how blue a person’s eyes are.*

*When I wrote that, just there, I immediately thought of the brilliant book How Not To Write A Novel , by Newman and Mittelmark (2008, Penguin Books) which has a section called ‘The Vegan Viking’ (pages 65-66).**  In light of that particular section, I should probably reassess one of my characters… Also, read that book. It’ll ruin every trashy romance novel you’ve ever read, and you’ll be grateful for it.

** In case you haven’t read the other parts of my blog, I should clarify. I like vikings, and I like vegans.

Friday 29 November. 9.23 PM.

Current word count: 47, 242 words. 

The Beatles album Abbey Road playing, got a glass of wine and less than three thousand words to go. Bring on an all-nighter and some intense writing.

I’m interested to see how music affects my writing. Especially after a month of alternating between progressive metal and Ludovico Einaudi albums (think classical piano and violins), just throwing a bit of The Beatles in the mix should make for some interesting subtle influences on the plot. I definitely just wrote the most upbeat, lighthearted bit of dialogue in the entire story while bopping to this latest set of songs. I might find that my dark brooding story about guys that look like vikings generally being dark and brooding, will suddenly result in them all getting bowl haircuts and singing love songs.

Friday 29 November. 11.26 PM.

I just copied and pasted the entire text of my novel into NaNoWriMo’s word count validation thingamajig. I am just short of 50, 000 words. On the one hand, I’m a little frustrated. On the other, I’m relieved. I have grown rather fond of my story’s characters over this last month. I will be sad to say good bye.

Saturday 30 November. 12.01 AM.

If we politely ignore the bit where I’m awake waaaaaay past my bedtime, I would like to say that at some point I actually managed to write more words than necessary. I officially just validated and won my first ever NaNoWriMo. I am so excited. I didn’t think I would manage it.

Final word count: 50, 255 Words.

…And counting – I haven’t finished with this story yet. It’s got potential.

NaNoWriMo 2013 Winner's Banner

NaNoWriMo 2013 Winner’s Banner

2013-11-29 at 23-54-11

Midnight screenshot of my NaNoWriMo profile. Preserved for the future’s sake! Also to prove to myself that I actually did this through sheer hard regular work.

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Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Days 25 to 28

Monday 25 November. 9.37 PM.

It’s been another one of those fruitless writing days: the sort where, the moment I have waved goodbye to the husband, dropped the kids off at school, and boiled the kettle, the neighbours are swamped with a heap of noisy workmen.

Now, I have to say, it is getting beyond ridiculous. The neighbours on either side of my house – not knowing that I am already ultra-sensitive to unpredictable noise (thank you to my ISFP / Introverted / Melancholy personality type), and that I am trying to write a manuscript longer than anything I’ve previously attempted in an insanely short amount of time – can’t possibly have planned between themselves to alternate loud renovation works on a daily basis for several months straight with almost no respite in order to ruin my life, my sense of peace and my creativity… but forgive me for being paranoid about the possibility.

So, as 10 o’clock approaches on what has otherwise been a gloriously sunny late-spring day marked by a surprise gift from some friends, and where I at least managed to get a few things knocked off the checklist (Christmas gifts and paperwork and getting some repair work quotes), I am trying to tap out some words… While trying to ignore the fact that the other neighbours’ children are still wide awake and practising their musical instruments. As they do when it is 10 o’clock on a school night.  (Perhaps my view is skewed because my children go to bed before 8 PM on school nights, otherwise there’s not a chance they’ll be up in time for school.)

Tuesday 26 November. 12.12 PM.

It’s a beautiful, sunny, peaceful, breezy end-of-spring kind of day. There is nothing to do but write. I don’t know that I rate my chances of completing the 50,000-word goal as being particularly likely. I am currently sitting on 29, 121 words and need to write another 20, 879 before November 30 ends, with enough time to submit and validate my novel. Will I accomplish this? I have no idea. But now, at this moment, while I have a moment of blissful solitude and silence, I will try to write as much as I can.


27 November, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken on an iPhone 5C.

Wednesday 27 November 2013. 2.30 PM.

It’s a glorious 29°C  here in Melbourne, Australia today. (That’s 84.2°F for my North American readers!) Sunny weather and blue skies seem to trigger the thing in me that wants to write. Frustratingly it was shaping up to be another day of noise, but a coffee with a friend followed by some alone time at an arboretum in our end of Melbourne with me, an orange juice, and my netbook PC meant that I got some writing done. Being outdoors refreshed my imagination, too. There were little ducklings waddling around everywhere, flowers blooming, and it was just open and quiet and pretty. I need the refreshment of nature to tap into my creativity.

I have started resorting to writing non-chronological scenes in the story just to keep the momentum rolling.

I have until 11.59 PM on Saturday to submit and verify my word count. I don’t hold my chances of reaching 50,000 words as very high. I need to write 4,600 words a day, every day, between now and Saturday in order to accomplish that. It’s an uphill battle from here. I wish I could just copy/paste the development material I used to create the characters and their back stories into the document – I’d be past 50, 000 words in a flash if that were the case!

However, on the plus side, either way, in this one month I have developed a manuscript and story longer than anything I had heretofore accomplished. I don’t know that my story will ever meet the light of day, but at least I will have given life to some of the characters that were stuck in my head all this time.

Will I be trying nanowrimo again next year? I reckon I probably will. And between now and then, I’ve got plenty of fresh ideas rolling into my mind to keep me going!

Current word count: 31, 608 Words. 18, 392 words remaining.

Wednesday 27 November 2013. 8.28 PM.

I’m sitting outside to write. Summer is coming soon, and with it the longer days and warmer weather. Melbourne is a part of the world that is wet and cold for much of the year, so it really was lovely to enjoy a sunny, hot, positive day.  (I would have preferred it without getting sunburnt,  though.)

I am watching the last pink of sunset fade from the clouds. I can hear all kinds of birds and insects chirping a dusk chorus. Cicadas are quieting but the crickets have struck up their raspy song. Willie wagtails, blackbirds, magpies, currawongs, and wattlebirds add their voices to the avian cacophony.* I can hear frogs coming from the nearby reserve, too. I really, really love nature and it inspires me, in all its movements and colours and cycles, but if there is a time of year and day that seems especially magical to me, it’s the late spring and early summer sunsets, on these sorts of sunny days. I can easily explain it – Christmas is coming, and so is my birthday. Even if I am getting older, I still retain some of the childish joy about these times of year. This is a time of transition for us, too. A time of endings. This year, and this fortnight, marks one of the biggest years of my life in terms of soul searching, dreaming, and implementing massive life changes. And so, there’s a heightened excitement for me as I sit under the darkening skies and know that soon the stars will shimmer into being. If only I could get this wordcount happening faster! (Step one: log out of social networking websites.)

*Thank you, Museum Victoria Field Guide to Victorian Fauna App. I’m using the iPhone version.


27 November 2013. Sunset. Melbourne, Australia. Taken on an iPhone 5C.

Thursday 28 November 2013. 11.37 AM.

Must keep writing.

Current word count: 35, 409 words.


Thursday 28 November 2013. 2.10 PM.

It is time to draw on the methods of frantic pre-deadline writing I used to complete my honours thesis two years ago:

Step One: Good bye, Facebook, Instagram, et. al.

Step Two: Good bye, social life.

Step Three: Hello, coffee, Scrivener, and a playlist of every Tool album I could get my hand on from 1992’s Opiate to 2006’s 10,000 Days (and 2000’s Salival thrown in for good measure!) It’s writing time.

Step four: type any disjointed idea that turns up in my head. I can always edit later!


Thursday 28 November 2013. 6.35 PM.

NaNoWriMo Profile: Work in Progress

NaNoWriMo Profile: Work in Progress

I’m pretty close! Only roughly 10, 900 words to go!


Thursday 28 November 2013. 10.09 PM.

Today was a good writing day. It’s such a relief.

Current word count: 43,322 words. 6,678 words remaining to finish nanowrimo.

Deadline to validate final word count of a minimum of 50,000 words: 11.59 PM, Saturday 30 November, local time.


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