Tuesday, December 6, 2016

NaNo Winner!

That's right! I did it! I finally did it! Six years after I attempted my first NaNo, after five attempts, after a year hiatus from the challenge: I did it!

Pardon me for puffing my chest up a bit, but this is such an accomplishment! It'd be an even bigger one had I actually finished the book. Nope. Jolene has a much more epic back story than I thought; at least, in the first draft form. Over 50,000 words into the story, and I'm only about 60% of the way, if that. It's a lot more of an undertaking than I thought.

Back to the important part, though. I completed NaNo finally! Conquered that beast. It was a bit of a struggle. I had to write my fingers off to accomplish it. The last two days I wrote 13,745 words! I think that's the most I've written in such a short time. If it isn't, it's in the top three. I was actually nervous about finishing on time.

I mean, technically, I didn't. Five minutes til midnight, and I still had 1100-some words to write. I ended up cheating: I took last week's blog post, and added it to my word count in order to surpass 50,000 words. A lot of people do that: literally count all the narratives they write; even if they're non-fiction. To make up for it, and to make sure the NOVEL had over 50,000 words, I stayed up until nearly 2am sleepily typing away. I ended up with 50,883 words! That surpassed what I had when I cheated with my blog post, which was only about 50,100-something.

That's when I majorly screwed up.

See, I wanted an accurate count on my novel for posterity sake. So, here it was, 2am on December 1st, and I couldn't re-validate my novel. I already had all the "winner" bragging rights posted everywhere on my NaNo profile. I had the purple "winner" banner. The 2016 medallion on my author info page was also a pretty purple and said "winner" instead of "participant." I could download a winner certificate, could save the pretty "Winner" banners for both this blog and my Facebook profile. I could get access to the NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner profile picture too. Not to mention access to all the discounts winners receive as "goodies"; discounts to a bunch of cool writing-related programs and instructors that sponsor NaNoWriMo.

Fun side note: the only fully free goodie - the rest are large discounts - was the James Patterson MasterClass lesson on editing. I had a nice chuckle about that since I already have that class, thanks to my Mommy buying me the full class series for my birthday two years ago.

Anyway, I already had all the fun stuff and bragging rights. I knew that while I extended the deadline by two hours, I figured it countered the original cheat of adding 1700 words not involved in my novel. I had actually won it! I could have left things alone, but noooooo, I had to have that accurate word count of my novel. So I manually overrode the November 30th word count; except my touchpad jumped, and I accidentally saved the new word count without all the digits. I had unintentionally dropped my word count below 50,000 words, which had the site recant all the "winner" benefits; putting me back to "participant" status. Even when I fixed the word count to my 50,885 close count, since I couldn't verify the count any longer, the site wouldn't give me back my hard-earned winnings.

The whole thing really deflated me, and killed all the excitement I had for surpassing 50,000 words in a month. A bit depressed, I tried writing to the Office of Letters and Light; the non-profit that runs NaNo.

I'm happy to report that yesterday I received an email stating that they had reverified my word count on their end, and reinstated my winner status for this year! YAY!
Hacker Girl Facebook Sticker
by Birdman Inc
So, let's talk a bit about this challenge. First off, I want to show everyone more-or-less my day-by-day progress.

First up, what my stats screen actually looks like over at NaNoWriMo.org
Look at those pretty purple "Winner" icons!
Isn't it cool to see those spikes in my writing?
My completed NaNoWriMo 2016 calendar. Even with seven sad faces of nothingness, I made it!
14,025 words in three days! Nuts!
Calendar created by Dave Seah
So cool, right? After that craziness on the 30th, I just had to take a rest. So, I've been spending the past week FINALLY reading "The Hammer of Thor" by Rick Riordan.

I have to say, I'm somehow shocked at how topical and kind of progressive this man is. In the Heroes of Olympus he's had openly gay characters. In "The Hidden Oracle" he not only has the gay characters as an adorable couple, but has a blatantly pan-sexual character; constantly talking about his two greatest lost loves: one male; one female. In "Hammer of Thor" we're introduced to a transgender/gender-fluid character. He even tried to have his main character Magnus try to empathize with the concept of trangender by remembering a time that he was forced to write with his right hand for a school year, even though he's naturally left-handed. Magnus admitted it's a poor analogy, but I give Riordan props for trying to find a way to explain this experience to his middle-grade target demographic.

When I haven't been working or reading, I've been spending the rest of my now opened up free time to celebrate two birthdays!

Old man is 33 now. :D
We finished last week celebrating my Hubby's birthday with Cards Against Humanity and booze. It was a fun time that included finally officially meeting Ronoxym and Cyhyr's baby girl. I mean, they popped in with her when she was only a month old or so, but she was asleep, and I was busy running a D&D session, so I didn't really get to MEET her. She was so smiley. Apparently she takes after Daddy, and loves meeting new people.

The other birthday celebration included more booze, but a movie this time as I crashed over at Spink's place.
Happy 24th, Spink!
It was fun to cram in so much socializing after semi-neglecting it....

And now, because I'm still a proud little peacock, I'm going to finish up with a few stats that at least I found interesting about my book. You can just stop here if you don't care.

I wrote 26 chapters ranging from as little as 1051 words to as many as 3105 words. My average word count per chapter was 1957 words, even though not a single chapter actually had 1900-some words. Oh, the glory of math.... In contrast, my MEDIAN chapter length was 1804 words per chapter. The official breakdown is as follows:
  • One chapter finishing with 1000 and change
  • One chapter at 1100+ words
  • One chapter each as well for 1200 and 1300 ranges
  • Two chapters ended in the 1470s
  • Three chapters had 1500-some words
  • Three chapters were also within the 1600s
  • One chapter - on the lower end of the median - had 1740 words.
  • Two chapters had 1800+ words
  • Eight different chapters had over 2000 words in them: one each in the 2000, 2100, 2200, and 2300 ranges; two chapters were 2400+ words long; two had over 2500 words.
  • Two chapters - one dealing with Jolene's cheating boyfriend, and the other when she met the brothel madam - had over 3000 words.
  • One chapter had Jolene tackle a dungeon, and that was my longest one at 3105 words.
I even think I slightly improved on my chapter titles! I started off kind of blah and straight forward, but I feel like I got more intriguing as I went:
  1. Finding a Place to Belong
  2. Growing Attached
  3. Falling in Love
  4. First Heartbreak
  5. Rediscovered
  6. Moving on
  7. LIAR!
  8. Meeting the Fox
  9. Winter Smiles
  10. Fox in the Chicken Coup
  11. Life as an Adventurer
  12. Stargazer
  13. Tale of Myrica
  14. Love, Despite Yourself
  15. Here to Stay
  16. Running Away
  17. Remind Me of Someone
  18. Always Forward
  19. A Night to Remember
  20. Harrowing Caverns
  21. Who Are You?
  22. Wine Ruins Everything
  23. Let Me be Your Friend
  24. Breaking Her In
  25. Breaking the Illusion
  26. Parasite
Another stat that amused me was the inconsistent "screen time" of each of Jolene's loves. I originally thought that Jacob - the first and strongest love of Jolene's life; the ruler all others are measured against - would have the most chapters. She loved him the most. She was with him the longest. He was the most important to her. Yet, Searl, a man she's all but forgotten, has the most chapters dedicated to him. Here's the breakdown:
  • Jacob: four chapters;  8543 words covering a NINE YEAR relationship. Jolene was five, and Jacob was seven when they first became friends; Jolene was ten and Jacob was twelve when they realized they had romantic feelings for each other; when Jacob turned thirteen he unofficially proposed to Jolene; right after her fourteenth birthday he announced his engagement to another woman.
  • Teo: three chapters; 5427 words; roughly six-month relationship
  • Parvil: three chapters again, but 5714 words covering the feverously short six-week relationship. There was also about two months of friendship building first, though....
  • Jesan: five chapters; 9006 words. In truth, 1389 of those words were an impromptu chapter telling the mythilogical story behind a constellation, but the remaining 7617 words covered their four-month relationship.
  • Searl: whopping six chapters and 11,815 words. Not too shabby for someone Jolene dated for five months, and really couldn't give two-shits about anymore. I guess he gets extra time because he was her first lover.
While I tried to limit my writing to weekdays only, giving myself weekends off for socializing, I seemed to write fairly close to writing daily anyway. The 50,883 words was actually written within 23 words once you take out the days I failed to write anything for the story. Not to say I didn't write anything at all; just not for the story. Pretty impressive; only missing seven days, and managing an average daily word count of 2212. Of course, with days only having 200-some words; that meant I had to pick up the slack a LOT on other days. End result is still the same, though:


  1. My dear darling daughter, I am happy they were able to reinstate your winner status. I have to admit that if you just talked to a tape recorder you could easily surpass the amount of words needed. You need a dictating machine. 😁
    So when are you going to finish the book do we can publish it and you can make your first
    Million? I am still waiting for my paved driveway.

    In all seriousness, I am very proud if you . 👏❤️️

    1. Well, I'd have to write the second half, and then do a lot of tweaking. Not just basic editing, but shifting Jolene et al. to my own world. Luckily, not too much of Bear's world really effects the story, so it should be a simple shift. Regardless, it's part of the agreement. This was for my own benefit, for character building, and for something to write for NaNo. I am not going to benefit off of what boils down to fanfiction (even remotely) unless I have the consent of the world-builder. :)