08 November, 2011

What I'm learning in November...

So, a week into my first NaNoWriMo and I'm enjoying it. I'm lucky to be able to devote a lot of my day to writing, and therefore don't feel in such a mad rush as everyone else. Even so, I am on 19 500 words this evening, whereas some members of my region have reached the half-way stage already!

I've learned some important things so far.
  1. Microsoft word does not recognise the words lothario or wellies (it tries to change the first e to an i - not the message I was going for)
  2. It is easy to mistake writing fast for writing lots. I charged into my novel feeling the pressure to turn out a lot of words and started racing through the plot. By 10 000 words I was beginning to worry the book will be over before I even reached 50 000 words. The idea of NaNo isn't to get through the plot at double-speed but to get through words at double-speed - over-writing, including the disgusting abuse of adverbs is very much encouraged in NaNo land.
  3. When you delete a word because it is spelled wrong, it is vital to put it back in again. Having deleted most of the word "affairs" from a sentence, I forgot to replace it with the correct spelling. When I read back through the paragraph I found I had written, "If I wanted someone to meddle in my privates, I'd hire a cleaner." Again, not the message I was going for.
  4. Leaning on your elbow for hours at a time while you read and/or think leads to "student elbow" - too much fluid in the joint - which means you have to try and lean on your other elbow, which in turn means you have to try and use your mouse with the wrong hand. 
  5. Using your mouse with your other hand is hard.
I also found out yesterday that I didn't get anywhere in the Spilling Ink Fiction Prize, which wasn't too much of a surprise, but always a little bit of a downer. However, a magazine arrived in the post today with my prize-winning story in it, complete with judges comments and big cheesy photo of me (thanks Joe for the image!) which cheered me up - nice to see my name in print, even if it's not my own novel (yet!). I'll take every boost I can get; I feel like the next few months could be very slow on the "good writing news" front and depressingly quick on the "bad writing news" front, but I'm not letting that get to me. Not today, anyway.


  1. "If I wanted someone to meddle in my privates, I'd hire a cleaner." Classic typo. As good as the 'adulterer's bible' in which the command forbidding adultery was missing the word 'not' and read 'Thou shalt commit adultery'.

  2. I think your Point #2 sums up why I don't think the NaNo is for me. I love the idea of setting aside a month to write a book (or a big chunk of one), but the focus on word count doesn't really fit with my outlook. I'd much rather write 100 words than 10,000, if I thought the 100 were the best I'd ever written.

    But it's a good test of endurance and discipline, and I imagine you'll come out the end of it having learned a great deal. Best of luck, keep at it!

    And well done with the magazine publication, too!

  3. I think that's the point, Dan. It's a test of endurance and to write in a way that you would never normally write in. I always take a lot of care over what I'm writing, checking back and tinkering with it constantly. Therefore NaNo is taking me out of my comfort zone. It isn't going to be the best writing I've done - I can aim for that any other month of the year - but it's teaching me some new skills too. 9 days in and I am really surprised at how much it's taught me about my writing already.

    (But you're right - it's probably not for everyone.)

  4. Hi Chloe, I'm an ACW member and heard you read your story aloud at the recent Writers Day. I was very impressed; have now read the story in print, in Christian Writer & found it even more striking & even chilling, esp as I nearly ran over a mother, small child & baby in pram, as I reversed out of my driveway the other day! It so terrified me I vowed never to reverse out of my drive again. I'm also doing NanoWrimo & am at 18851 words. Can I add you as a buddy because I only have one so far? Thanks! www.scskillmanblogspot.wordpress.com
    (Find me on facebook - SC Skillman Author fanpage)

  5. Hi SC, thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Still gives me a warm glow to have people enjoying something I've written! Please do add me as a buddy - my user name is CFB. I'm on 27600 now, but finding it scary how many people are nearly done already!

  6. Once again Chloe it's a delight to read your upbeat and dare I say, humorous posting. I'm pleased that you've got the time to spend on your NaNo novel and it's gliding along.
    I've just completed Chapter 6 of my attempt, 'Hawk, A Human Hunter'. As of half an hour ago I'm about 3,000 words behind schedule but I have high hopes of making it up.
    I had to force myself to stop, make a blog entry and check yours out.
    Keep up the good work my friend. Got to go, I've got a novel to write ...


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