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NaNo 2010 – The Story So Far | Kestrel's Aerie

NaNo 2010 – The Story So Far | Kestrel's Aerie

NaNo 2010 – The Story So Far

As I’ve written elsewhere, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month 2010. I’m quite excited about my work-in-progress (WIP), a fantasy novel that threatens to balloon to fantastic, possibly even epic, proportions.

As the graphic to the left shows (and it should update, just like the one in the sidebar, throughout the month), I’m less than a thousand words away from the halfway point, and still two days to get that thousand words! To say I’m having a blast would be an understatement.

Just as an example, I was writing a scene Thursday night and was a bit stumped in how to resolve a rather dramatic and exciting climax. So, I kept writing, moving the action forward, and just as I was about to surrender, inspiration struck suddenly, and I couldn’t type fast enough (to suit myself) to complete the scene. Not only that, my resolution to the conflict actually worked! (Well, mostly: It will require some editing, but at least there are strong bones upon which to flesh out the scene.)

I ♥ Scrivener

Although I’ve had Scrivener for quite awhile now, and upgraded on November 1 to version 2.0, I hadn’t really used it to any great extent. I mean, a thousand-word short short story is hardly enough of a vehicle to really play around with Scrivener’s many and wonderful features. But I must say, using it almost every day for two to six hours per day for the past two weeks has been great. I’m learning a lot about the program, and I’m also learning there’s a lot more to learn. But that’s okay: I still have 26,000 words to go this month, plus all the editing and cleanup post-NaNo, plus actually, you know, finishing the WIP. (Trust me: simply writing 50,000 words in November does not a novel make!)

The best thing about Scrivener I’ve found is that it’s infinitely flexible. I don’t need to use it the same way, say, Tami uses it, but I can still reap the same benefits.

I Am A Pantser

I’m sure that will disappoint my friend @Arrens, who prefers pantsless, but that’s how I roll.1

Seriously, though, I’ve discovered (affirmed?) that I write “by the seat of my pants.” The aforementioned Mrs. Moore is a confirmed outliner, and I couldn’t be happier for her.2 And I imagine at some point (very possibly when I start Book 2 of The Obsidian Throne), I, too, shall endeavor to create a good, solid, working outline. But for the NaNo project (The Obsidian Throne – Book 1), it’s all autopilot.

Sure, I have a very general idea of where I think this particular book will end, and how. I also know what a couple of upcoming scenes will be, but I’m not yet sure where they fit. But I’m supremely confident that they will fit, and won’t feel shoehorned, either.

One of the best parts—for me, at least—about pantsing is the excitement of discovering “what happens next.” For I have little more knowledge about what’s coming up than my characters do: It’s almost like reading an exciting novel, rather than writing one!

Can we has chapters?3

Why yes, yes we can!

I was looking over my ms. this morning, doing a little housekeeping in Scrivener. So far, I’ve been writing “scenes,” which are not at all the same as chapters. I happened to look at my list of scenes, and saw they could be pretty neatly separated into groups of three…and each group of three scenes came in at roughly similar wordcounts (6144, 6267, 6285, 5337) (okay, Ch. 4 is a little short—funny, because I thought a couple scenes dragged on forever there).

So now I have four “completed” chapters, and I am about to begin Chapter 5. Of course, I’m under no illusion that things will always be this way: I know, for instance, my third scene in Chapter 4 really needs to be spread out quite a bit among both chapters 3 and 4; on the other hand, I also know the first scene in Chapter 5 will fit conveniently in Chapter 4.

BUT!!! (and you know how much I dislike repeated punctuation :p ) BUT!!! Don’t think I’m getting ahead of myself. Circumstances this morning weren’t conducive to actually writing, but I wanted to stay involved in my project. Think of this as an exercise in “keeping my hand in.”4

BUT CHAPTERS, PEOPLE! I mean, come onChapters!

  1. If you know anything about Arrens, you know what I’m talking about. For the rest of you…sorry, it’s a bit of an inside joke.
  2. Have I ever mentioned that I think she’s a damned fine writer, too?
  3. This section was previously posted to the Saucy Wenches Forums.
  4. This disclaimer is here because otherwise, Tami (and others) will slap me around with (large) wet noodles if they thought I was doing any editing!


5 Responses to NaNo 2010 – The Story So Far
  1. Tami
    November 13, 2010 | 17:47

    I’ve been trying to find a list of upgrades – or, rather, reasons to upgrade to Scrivener 2. What are your thoughts?
    Tami´s latest blog post is Photos from TeslaCon 2010My ComLuv Profile

    • Kestrel
      November 13, 2010 | 19:01

      I’m going to be terribly honest: I am not familiar enough with Scriv 1.0 to effectively compare it to Scriv 2.0. I do know that there are a lot more Mac-centric features in 2.0. For example, 2.0 adopts the OS X typing and character conventions (for better or worse, but it is consistent with the OS now, in that regard).

      I’m an early adopter, so that’s the main reason I jumped at 2.0. However, I’m fairly certain that error handling is much improved in 2.0, the file structure is more stable, and there’s a lot more compatibility with other file formats. (For example, you can convert a Scriv project to a Kindle ePub document: How cool is that? I’m not sure that capability existed in 1.0.)

      In other words, 2.0 is safer for your projects than 1.0.

  2. Kimberly
    November 15, 2010 | 11:28

    Oh my gosh I’m having the worst time with my story right now. I’m about 300 words behind as of last night, but I’m going to a local write-in tonight with just my laptop (no WoW, no TV, no cute dogs to distract me) and hope to surpass that half-way mark.

    I’m also a pantser, no outlines for me. So much so that tonight I think I’m going to start writing from the ending scenes and work my way backward.

    • Kestrel
      November 15, 2010 | 12:37

      Oh, now that’s a …novel… idea. (Sorry…sometimes I just can’t resist.) Seriously…that would be a great way to get over the “missing muse” hump.

      Except…for me…I’m not exactly sure where this particular story is going to end. On the other hand, by writing an ending, I’d have a much better idea, wouldn’t I?


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