Lewis Mulligan and the NaNoWriMo Post Mortem
Lewis Mulligan and the Pandemonium Engine wasn’t an official winner, sadly.
I am still working hard on it to finish it sometime this coming week or two. Follow me on Twitter to keep up with the progress.
That was the big number. 11:59PM on November 30th, that was where I was cut off. I didn’t reach the 50000 goal but I’m still marking this one in the Win column. That’s faster than any other writing I’ve done to date. My prior record was ~30,000 one month while writing Root of the First.
I fell behind early. I got off to a good start, but I went through a few days in the first week where I didn’t do enough to make time to write. So from that point forward I was racing to catch up. I ended up in a burst-and-break pace where I’d crank out around 2000-3000 words in a day (the goal is 1667 per day) and then go through a few 500-800 days in a row. The last day, I jumped from around 40k to the final number, so that’s 20 pages in one day. Not quite enough to close the gap, but even I’m impressed by how much I got done.
On the whole, I’m pretty satisfied with the work I’ve got on the page so far. There are sections that I know I’m going to cut, and others I’m planning to expand later. There are some curiously bad phrasings of sentences scattered throughout that I will need to clean up later.
This is a pretty large deviation from my normal writing pace. I usually work steadily at around 1000 words a day, but I make them count. I tend to give a lot more consideration to my words while drafting normally, and that saves me a great deal of time revising because I’ve already got what I want the way I want it, at least as far as line edits go. The place I lose time normally is in the structural editing, where I have to cut, move, or change my carefully worded sections in order to accommodate a shift in plot or pace.
NaNoWriMo has been the opposite. I’m spending far less time than I feel I should on the wording. It’s very dry, and very generic, voice-wise. And I’m not sure the pace helps with my plotting. I gloss over plot holes because I need to move on, but I know from experience that fixing those plot holes in revision will probably mean major edits. It isn’t usually as simple as just editing a few words here and there, or tossing in a sentence to explain something. That’s always the hope, but the reality is that the earlier in the book a structural change needs to happen, the less of the rest of the book you can leave unchanged. Butterfly effect, and all.
The end goal for this book is around the 65000 word mark. I’m thinking I will finish this first draft near the 55000 word mark and expand from there. Needing to expand a revised draft is always a nice position to be in. Certainly better than needing to cut 50000 words like last time!
I anticipate finishing the first draft sometime early this month. For those on the preview list, believe me, you don’t want to see this thing until I’ve gone over it at least once, which means sometime in January.