Sort-of-Nanowrimo 2015: All Of The Editing

It’s that time of year again!

Around the world, many a brave, foolish soul is starting a brand new novel for National Novel Writing Month. Not so with me…


Enjoying my sharp design skillz, heh?


I’m still kind of participating, because how could I not? But, for the first time in all my years of Nano-ing, I don’t have a wordcount goal. YIKES.

That’s because, right now, I’m editing The Paradise Swarm.

I have plenty of ideas for new stories but stopping my edits to write something new would just be giving in to the temptation of the Shiny New Idea (sooo tempting!) and leaving this novel hanging.

I know what I need to do now is FINISH THIS BOOK, if only to gain the experience of getting to the end of a novel.

I’ve completed five Nanowrimos, and taken a good chunk out of two more, it’s something I know I can do. I haven’t completed a novel yet, so I’ll work on that.

Here’s how it is going to work

My plan is to do 50 hours of edits in November: it’s a big chunk of the work, more than an hour a day, and obviously I like that it keeps the magic number 50 in the equation.

I’m not sure how to log it on the Nano website, or even if I should – some people have suggested I put down 1,000 words for each hour of editing, since that would give me a win once I reached 50, but I’m not sure about that idea.

I write quite slowly and I know I’d never reliably 1K an hour all November long, so it doesn’t feel quite write to equate 50 hours of work with a Nanowrimo win when I normally put in about double that amount of time.

My Book Progress

Luckily, this new progress bar widget I backed on Kickstarter just funded, so I can use this as well as (or instead of?) the wordcount feature on the Nano website.
MyBookProgress looks pretty nifty so far, although it doesn’t have an option to log hours at the moment – I’ve suggested that for a future update. So, for now, I’ve set my goal as 50 scenes edited in November, which is a bit more of an ambitious goal than 50 hours – but ambition is no bad thing, especially not in November!!

The Paradise Swarm
Phase:2nd Draft
Due:8 years ago

I’ve only done an hour so far (coincidentally, I did a full scene then as well if a short one), but I should be able to do more this evening!

The Nanowrimo Tag

If you’d like to hear more about my Nanowrimo experiences in general, check out the Nanowrimo Tag:


Is it December yet?

Woooot! I’ve won!! *happy dance*

I completed my fifth Nanowrimo out of six attempts at 23:15 on Saturday night. One day, I swear, I will put down my 50,000th word in the morning of the 30th.

And though it is never easy to write 50K in a month, I found this year particularly challenging and I really struggled with my writing.

I’ve been writing The Paradise Swarm for a long time and as Nano approached, I really didn’t feel like switching to a new story. I did start something new on November 1st, because I generally think it’s good fun, but I couldn’t get stuck in. I couldn’t start over again from scratch, slowly building characters and conflicts when I had just been getting to a really exciting bit of The Paradise Swarm just before Nano kicked off.

After approximately a week and 6,000 words, I switched from my funny university slice-of-life story about exchange students to ‘The Other Novel’, an adventure-filled Sci-Fi idea that sounded like the perfect distraction at the time. That lasted three days and about 4,000 painful words before I had to face the hard truth.

It was time to break the rules again, by going back to what I really wanted to be doing, which was writing The Paradise Swarm. I wrote about 40,000 words in the second half of the month, bringing me to just under 50K altogether. At the same time, the Prologue and ex-Chapter One and Two were relegated to the ‘Cut Scenes’ folder, as they didn’t really fit any more.

I started the year with 8,000 words, most of which have now been cut, and I’m ending the year with 48,000 words, mostly new and mostly from Nanowrimo. That is quite scary to me, but at the same time, I’m closer to my overall goal than I’ve ever been. I won’t finish the manuscript this year as I had hoped, but I am firmly decided to finish it before next November.

Famous last words…


Writing in non-November Months

I had only written a few things before I moved to the UK, including some really bad fanfiction and a generic epic fantasy first chapter starring a feisty young princess with flowing red hair and a mysterious elf with two apostrophes in his name.

It was only after my first Nanowrimo, having met the amazing NanoLondon writing community, that I started to write original fiction.

I didn’t write much, and my output was extremely inconsistent in terms of quantity.
Let’s not discuss the quality, okay?

Last year I wrote 100,000 words across all of my writing projects, including this blog – meaning that it took eleven non-November months to write as much as I wrote during November. Not a great result, though it was definitely progress. Earlier this year, I entered a LiveJournal challenge called Get Your Words Out, aiming for 150,000 words in the year.

I won’t lie, I’m not keeping up with the monthly goals I’ve set for myself at the moment, but the year is only just beginning. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pick up the pace once I’ve gotten more practise under my belt. I’m always trying to set up regular writing habits for myself, and I’ve never been very successful at it. When I started writing The Paradise Swarm again, though, with a plan, a word count goal, and some scenes in mind, things seemed to pick up quite a bit.

Progress is definitely very slow, but it is at least steady, and I think the slower pace allows for better quality too. I brought some of the novel to read to my Critique Group, who were very encouraging and told me to just keep writing.

As I tend to fall prey fairly easily to the ‘Work on this one scene for six months until it shines’ monster, I made an extra effort to take that one on board. One scene gave me quite a bit of grief, so much so, that in the end I straight up ignored it and moved on to the next. Truth be told, as it’s currently in Chapter Two, and I’m pretty bad at beginnings, it’s probably going to die a nasty death later on, rather than being re-written. So all’s good.

The next few months look to be fairly bad in terms of productivity as work is getting busier and I have to move soon, but I’m going to try and keep writing through the chaos.


Nano 2012 Winner

Tadaa! I won my fourth Nanowrimo (out of five attempts) last night. I rushed to the finish line at the Last Ditch Write-In and ended up with 50,186 words.

I’m just a tiny bit shocked that I managed to write quite that much, but I should really have expected the feeling, as I get it every year.

So Stars Shine Brighter goes into the folder of unfinished Nanos to return to at a later date.

Next on the agenda is to take up work on the first draft of The Paradise Swarm again. And I’m very excited about that!


Nano Status Report

We are nearing the end of Nano and I am behind – so, so very behind.

I am about 10K behind on my word count, I am writing this blog post about a week late and I don’t even want to start on the state of my living room. Chores are for December.

So far, so unsurprising – this just happens to be how I do Nano.

Every year, I try to keep on top of my word count and every year, I end up with stats going up in a very gentle slope for the first three weeks, and shooting up madly in the last ten days or so.

Last year was the first time that I lost in four years, so my main goal for this year is to win and I think I’m definitely on track despite being behind. I’ve got some time off work and I’m at a really exciting part of the story, so it shouldn’t be too hard to catch up.

So despite the Nano stats telling me I need another 3,176 words a day to finish on time, I’m quite happy with how this year is going so far. There are several things I’m especially happy with:

There have only been two days this year when I didn’t write anything (the weekday Mid-Month and Thanksgiving). In previous years, I’ve have had a lot more days off than that and writing every day has always been one of my goals for Nanowrimo.

I’ve stuck to my story even when I thought it really wouldn’t work out. In previous Nanos, I have: gone back and forth between English and French, switched story mid-way through, killed off the MC to make up the last few thousand words, written about five different beginnings, etc… This year is actually the first time I’ll end up with a story that has a beginning, a middle and an end – I may not get to the end of the story in November, but I’ll be a damn sight closer to an actual first draft than I’ve ever been before.

I’ve also really enjoyed writing these blog posts, even though I’ve find it really challenging at times to fit writing them around writing my novel. The blog posts may not be much, but they’re a few more hundred words to get out that don’t count for my word count, and I don’t normally write any more than 50K in November (I’ve validated between 50,000 and 50,500 on November 30st all three of my winning years).

I’m so, so happy with how NanoRilla went! Some of the locations we stopped at this year (the Millenium Bridge, the Globe) were actually spots we had been hoping to use in the past few years and didn’t manage to. I also managed to write more than 2,000 words during the whole afternoon, which I was so impressed with – I write really slowly and NanoRilla usually means sacrificing words for the fun of traipsing around London with other awesome Wrimos and getting weird looks from tourists. No so this year! People were awesome, tourists were weirded out and I wrote lots.

Finally, if you were at the Lock-In on Saturday night, how crazy was it? I am so impressed with how many people we managed to fit inside of the Big Green Bookshop. Once I recovered from the state of panic induced by my first two coffees and the steady arrival of more and more Wrimos, I had the best time and wrote about 5,500 words. And according to the word tally we kept throughout the night, I was towards the low end of word counts for the evening. Collectively we wrote approximately 366,000 words. That’s almost two of Karl’s novel, people!!

So there are things that I will need to improve on next year, but I definitely feel like this year is an improvement not only on last year when I lost, but also on all of my other Nanos. And now I have to go and write another 2,000 words before the end of today.

Catching-up Claire,
34,121 words.
Originally posted at