1 December 2006

From:that frolicsome kid
To:Whom this may concern
Date:1 December 2006, 15:00
Subject: NaNoWriMo Post-Mortem  

Dissecting NaNoWriMoToday is such a joyful day, the bright sunshine brightening up my Friday today. Today's 1st of December, and NaNoWriMo is officially over. I'm really happy that I was able to end up with 50,056 words a few minutes shy of midnight today. I would like to share my NaNoWriMo experience with everyone, and tell you guys my testimony of it.

So, how did I do it?

Honestly, I have no idea myself. I just write spontaneously with a vague plan in my head, and that's it. I also let the story lead me.

I began writing my first 10,000 words during the first week of November, and I wrote my story casually with many pauses and some deep thinking. At the end of the week, I had to go off to Sabah for an excursion trip with fifteen other students which was organised by my teacher. When I came back, I realised I was a few thousand words away from the recommended goal, and I was feeling discouraged. As the days wore on, I watched in horror as the recommended word count goal increased and I was still stuck, roughly about 10,000 words behind. If only I knew I can make myself write 8000 words...

At the end of the two week hiatus, I could not stand not doing anything to my story and NaNoWriMo and I told myself, "Hey, I have written a good beginning to a story, why stop there and moan and groan about how I cannot reach 50,000 words?" So I decided to do something with it and began to pick up my story and continue it. I saw that it still wasn't too late to do catch-up. The total number of words still did not hit the expected word count though.

On the 25th, the NaNoWriMo website has opened to all the word-count verification for the 50k-ers to submit their story and officially claim themselves to be winners. That's when I panicked. I had completed 30% of my goal, and already people have reached the goal! I picked up my writing speed, but at that pace I was going, it still wasn't fast enough to reach the goal.

On the 27th, I took the deep plunge. I literally forced out the 8000 words from my very soul. And I did it! I actually did it! It was incredible, I tell you. It was a feat I never knew I can do it! But I did! Amazing.

And I tried again on the last 3 days. My brain juice was already fizzling out, and that didn't help when parts of my novel are also stagnating (they're mostly the transition parts in between the major scenes of Kinderella).

And I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. I participated in 30-minute word wars as well with fellow NaNo writers, as a form of motivation. And guess what? I found out I could type out 600-800 words per session, give or take. I wowed at my own hidden ability and potential.

And finally, at the last day, I wrote full-force and whammed, I slammed my own record. 9371 words in a day! That is really a lot for me. I was so overjoyed when I was able to hit 50,000 words by 11.50++ p.m.

In one word: Incredible.

I have to thank my school for closing down early for renovations, and thus have my holidays early. So I have spent part of my holidays writing out a novel. Yay, talk about being productive! Else, I won't even write at all!

What resources have I used when writing out Kinderella?

The Usborne Illustrated Thesaurus

I really recommend you guys to buy this illustrated thesaurus from Usborne. It's called The Usborne Illustrated Thesaurus and what makes this thesaurus so different from others is that they contain lots of pictures that you know what it is but don't know how it's called. And they also group related words that belong to a certain category, e.g. dance words - boogie, bop, dart, glide etc.

See the sample page here and you'll be the judge.

I wish I read through and briefly study this book before my NaNoWriMo quest. Then I would have more or less some ideas to breath fresh words to dead, boring sentences. Anyway, this book is just amazing, it helped me a lot for NaNoWriMo. I suggest you buy it too, it's worth your every penny and it helps a lot in your writing.

I find myself constantly referring to Wikipedia when it comes to describing a certain event, a scene and even refresh my memory on the story of Cinderella.

What has motivated me to write 50,000 words?

A desktop looking like this:-

My Motivational NaNo-Desktop!

Word wars over at the NaNoWriMo forums and of course, you wonderful blog readers who pushed me and motivated me to write with your words of encouragements. Thank you so much guys! I couldn't do it without you!

Oh yes, and my little brother also played a part. He sneakily took a glance at what I was writing when I was downstairs for dinner. I then asked him for his honest opinion on my novel, and he told me it was "So good, man!" after hearing him saying "That is so lame!( =P )" etc. etc. etc.

Most importantly, did I learn anything out of NaNoWriMo?

Definitely! For one thing, I have gained the sheer experience of rushing against time and came up with an incredible number of words. It was unbelievable! And of course, I discovered that I CAN write. And also, I learned that procrastination was the main obstacle that has nearly caused my downfall, but I have risen against it and have beaten against all odds. I was hoping that NaNoWriMo could help me crush my bad habit of procrastinating. It did, but only a bit. But still, that's great.

Procrastination has its positive effects too, for me. When I decided to write, I realised that time was running short, and the deadline is pressing on me. Because I was placed under the pressure of finishing 50k words, I was able to write a lot more beyond my expectations and definitely well beyond my normal limit. I don't really like doing that though, the quality has suffered in favour of quantity. I find that the later chapters I have done is a little bit messy and "illogical". I need to edit them a bit before uploading them.

Oh yes, from writing so much and with the help of the thesaurus, I learned to make use of new vocabularies along the way and expanded my active vocabulary list. Writing out so many words also make me see that my current vocabulary still has room for expansion, and I will try over these holidays to broaden it.

I also learned a thing or two about describing fashion. Hahahaha! That's really cool.

I've made a mistake in the beginning of the novel though and that is skimping on the description of the main characters' appearances. How they look like, what are they wearing etc. The rest is pretty okay, I guess, at least I did convey their personality out. Self-reminder: describe first!

I have to go out to parties. No wonder I struggled pretty badly with the ballroom scenario. Hahaha!

Ever since experiencing NaNoWriMo, suddenly the 300-600 words compositions that I have to write in school seemed pretty little. And this is good news to me, it boosted my self-esteem a lot! And I wouldn't need to groan so much about the Royal Commonwealth Essay Competition which my English teacher would me to write an essay.

Through NaNoWriMo, my writing style has undergone minor/drastic changes. I don't know whether it's for good or for worse, but I know that I'm writing things a little bit differently now.

This is pretty much what I can think of at the moment to write. My brain is ultra-tired now after writing huge chunks of text the past five days. Sheer terror. But I'm glad I have done it. I feel like an accomplished man! Yahoo!

I shall put my novel aside for a few days and I'll pick it up whenever I am ready. Chapter 7 is found below this post, so check it out!

P.S. Congratulations to Happy and Blue 2 who consistently posted throughout the whole month of November in conjunction with NaBloPoMo. Great work! Take a look at all his November blog posts, starting from November 1st!

Comments (19):

Well Done!

That is so well done, Frolicsome Kid! I envy your ability to have done this... it is a big (no, major!) achievement!

You did it!

When I first came here, I thought you've got a good story on the go, but you'd never, in a million years, get through it by the end of November. I'm so impressed.

I still have the last chapters to read (and it sounds like there's a huge lot in there!)

But, before I do, I just want to comment on something you said in your post today... and that was about describing the characters fully at the beginning?

Personally, and I believe I'm not alone in this, I think it is better to weave the descriptions throughout the story. I tend to find it a bit 'boring' to have all the description up front, and a bit condescending too... Much more interesting to add a little bit (reveal a little more) to the ongoing narrative...

eg. You could simply describe someone as 'fat' (with all the added prose around that) at the beginning, or you could reveal it in the story, for instance saying something like, "...as he ran, he could feel the abundance of adipose tissue round his waste sliding up and down to the rythm of his feet..." or something such-like.

...or you can imply it, eg "he was finding all those bags of chips he'd eaten on the way home from school were now slowing him down..."

Obviously, you can do better than that, and it's your story...

Just an idea...

I'll have to come back and finish the story - I have a billion things to do just this minute (in fact, I think I'm supposed to be in a meeting in about 15 mins! :-O!) Gotta go!

Catch you soon....

Ah, that explains why my eyes went funny, and a whole different web-page comes up... let me know how the change-over goes, cos I'm thinking about doing it myself...!

by happy and blue 2
Date:1/12/06 22:23  

I am really proud of you. When it is finished to your satisfaction I hope you share it with your family and teachers.
They really need to witness your accomplishment.

Are you planning to do this again next year?..

All I can say is crazy. I think undertaking this yearbook thing is the equivalent to NaNoWriMo for me, in a sense, and I think that's pretty cool. I'm learning to beat down my procrastinating habits, and learning so much in the mean time. It's even kind of fun.

Long story short, I know what you're saying!

Hey annelisa! Thanks for the congrats! :D There are still more chapters to come, I have done until Chapter 17, and the files are still stuck in my hard drive for a while!

Hmmm, for the descriptions... I think the 'gradually adding the descriptions throughout the story' method sounds more plausible and effective. I don't think many people (including myself =P) can remember all the descriptions given at the beginning. Thanks for the tip, I will try to apply them in my future compositions and stories!

I hope you weren't late for the meeting. And by the way, Blogger BETA is really a headache for me! I'll explain more tomorrow in my blog post.

Hey happy and blue 2! Yeah, I definitely show them the finished product. I heard Lulu.com is offering NaNo winners free publishing of their finished novel by giving away one copy only. Sounds really cool!

And unfortunately, I don't think I'll be participating in next year's NaNoWriMo as I have to sit for my 'O' Levels next year in that same month.

Hi katelyn. Seems like we're on the same wavelength! =P

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