Posts Tagged NaNoWriMo

Return to the Word Mines: NaNoWriMo 2012!

November is fast approaching, and that means a whole bunch of people will shortly be embarking on another insane quest to write a whole novel in 30 days (or less!) for National Novel Writing Month.

I’ll be tackling NaNoWriMo again this year, hoping to actually finish an entire novel this time. Last year’s effort, Plague Magic, hit 35,769 words by the deadline, which is the longest single piece of fiction I’ve ever written. After giving the writing a rest last December, I’d planned to get back into it sometime in the new year and finish the novel. I had a decent outline for the whole thing, and had a rough idea of how it would end. Another month or so of writing, and I’d have a completed first draft. Right?

It didn’t work out that way. If you’ve had a look around my site, you may have noticed I also write iOS and Mac apps in my spare time. My big goal app-wise for 2012 was to finally finish work on Story Tracker for Mac, a submission tracking tool for writers. It took me until September to finish it. There were also a heap of app updates I had to work on, including localizing Bonsai Album into a further 6 languages and updating all my apps for the iPhone 5. All of this ate-up nearly all my spare time this year!

So, last year’s novel remains in limbo. I’m still excited about the premise, but it’ll have to wait until next year to complete. Why not work on it this November too? I suppose I could but it’s not really in keeping with the spirit of NaNoWriMo. Besides, I still need to prove to myself that I can write a novel start-to-finish in 30 days.

Righto. A new novel, then. What’s it called? No idea. I need to think of something in the next 24 hours. I’m off to a great start already! Last year I came up with an idea late on Halloween night, but it took me a further week to outline the general plot, in-between frantically trying to meet the daily word quota. I don’t recommend this. It’s rather stressful and I swore this year I’d have things planned out well in advance. History repeats itself, alas. So much for that!

I’m currently experiencing terror mingled with a sinking feeling of dread, along with maybe the slightest hint of excitement. Cranking out fifty thousand over the coming month is going to be a damned tall order. Then again, where’s the challenge if you don’t ever try to bite off way more than you can chew? Eat the elephant one bite at a time, say the wordsmiths. I’ll be giving it my best shot!

To celebrate my descent into madness, I’ve put Story Tracker for Mac on sale at 20% off for NaNoWriMo. There’s a trial version available if you’re curious and want to check it out.

I’ll probably be scarce around here over the next month, but might rant and rave a bit on Twitter – I’m @andrewnicolle. If you’re joining in on the madness, you can check out my NaNoWriMo profile. Feel free to add me to your writing buddy list, if you’d like.

See you at 50K!

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Plague Magic excerpt

The novel I’m writing for NaNoWriMo is coming along well so far, especially considering I just came up with a title and rough idea for the plot the night before the event started! Here’s an excerpt from the story so far:


George’s tongue flicked out briefly, moistening his lips. Suddenly, his whole body began to tremble violently. Stan recoiled. Both Jack and Frank rushed toward him to hold him down and stop him from falling from the hospital bed.

He began to speak, hesitantly at first. Then his voice gained power and deepened with each passing syllable. “Nocte. Nocte cadet!

Jack called for a nurse. Carmen began sobbing, and Sophia led her from the room. The others stood back, stunned. The heart rate monitor beeped with an ever increasing cadence, the display filling with a series of jagged spikes.

Nocte cadet! Mortui resurgent!” His brow furrowed, eyes gaining a manic intensity. “Mortui resurgent! Mortui! Mortui!

Jack and Frank struggled to hold him down. He kept trying to lift his arms, to loosen their grip. Despite his frailty, he seemed possessed of superhuman strength.


For those interested, you can follow my progress here. I’m lagging a bit behind my word quota right now, but that’s what weekends are for! 😉

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An Insane Plan: NaNoWriMo!

Every year since 1999, thousands of writers around the world decide that a novel isn’t something that should take many months or years to plan and write. It should only take 30 days! And to keep things consistent, they agree that a novel is defined as 50,000 words of fiction, from beginning to end. That’s the premise behind National Novel Writing Month, held every November. While not all of these would-be novelists are successful, they have at least made the attempt to complete a noble and quite possibly insane goal.

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo as far back as 2003, although I’ve never seriously given thought to participating until this year. In previous years I’ve been content to write a little more than usual, focussing on short stories. This year? Well, I’ve finally decided it’s time I threw my hat into the ring and to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time!

Why would I plan to write a novel now? The truth is, my fiction writing efforts have suffered terribly over the past few years with my focus on writing apps in my spare time. I’ve spent well over one thousand hours writing code instead of fiction, and while it has been an enjoyable and sometimes frustrating experience, I’ve been wishing I had the time and energy to devote to my writing on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean I’m not working on more apps in the future. I still plan to update my existing apps and to complete work on Story Tracker for Mac, as well as work on many more apps in the years to come. But for November 2011 I’ve decided I can spare some time out of my busy schedule to work on my first novel.

With November being a day and a half away, you’d think I’d have my novel all planned out, with detailed character studies, a cracking plot, and exotic locales at the ready. Do I? Not yet, but I’m sure it’ll come to me in a hurry. This will truly be a seat-of-the-pants effort.

Will I make it? I have no idea. I’m simultaneously excited and terrified! Writing fifty thousand words in a month implies a daily word count of 1,666 words. This is far in excess of my typical daily word count when I was regularly writing fiction. It’ll be a stretch for sure, but if there’s anything I’ve learned about myself over the past few years, it’s that I’m capable of surprising myself with tremendous bursts of productivity. This’ll be an interesting experiment, if nothing else. I’m curious whether writing a novel in a month will spark an explosion of creativity thereafter.

I’m not sure if I’ll be making many blog posts during the month, so if you’re interested in following my progress, you can check out my NaNoWriMo profile, or follow along on Twitter – I’m @andrewnicolle.

Fifty thousand words, or bust!

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