Double Up Day (A NaNo Update)

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If this image and it’s fellow graphs feel all too familiar to you, then you are most likely a participant in NaNoWriMo, the daunting task to pen 50,000 words in a single month.
The 7th marked the close on the first week of the contest, as well as their Double Up Day. This was a promotion to push writers to either double their word count, or just double their usual writing amount for the day. They also featured it in their donations, a $25 donation got you gifts from the $50 prize pool.
I thought about donating, earning that shiny golden halo on my profile and further fortifying my commitment to my novel. Unfortunately, my bank is better fortified. It’s overdraft fees and diminutive balance are suggesting that next year would be a better choice.
So, I took part in Double Up Day via the wordcount. I’ve been lagging a bit, so I had to do just over 8500 words. Being a slow typer, it took me most of the day, but I managed. The sense of accomplishment was wonderful, and not just my progress today, but altogether. This is the farthest I’ve ever gone on a book, with today alone being more than I’ve written in the previous few months.

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My story is picking up now, the pace increasing. A couple days ago I wrote what I thought was an overly descriptive bit. Turns out it worked as foreshadowing for an event I wasn’t sure how to play out. That writing gave me the idea I need to keep the story going. I had decided not to include a certain  character when I first started. In a scene yesterday, she just showed up. I knew I needed her there, and she fit, perfectly. Most of what I wrote feels very much like word vomit, but there is an occasional sentence or phrasing where it is spot on, the words sing from the page, and it feels like a real, true story.

How have you been progressing on NaNoWriMo? Anything unexpected show up in your writing? Write anything really poetic you’d like to share? Hopefully you haven’t had to kill anyone yet, right? That’s a week 2 or 3 thing.
Share your thoughts in the comments below!

NaNoWriMo

What is NaNoWriMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a web based community built to inspire and support novelists to complete their goal. A 50,000 word novel, in one month.
I first learned of NaNoWriMo after finishing Erin Morgenstern’s debut novel, The Night Circus. She had participated for a few years, and it resulted in her finished book.
The main reason this appeals to me, is the forced deadline. I will spend forever on one paragraph, trying to perfect it the first time around. I get hung up on wording and phrasing and can’t let my rough draft be just that, a rough draft. I’m hoping the limited timeframe will keep me going forward and pushing on.
This will be my third try at finishing a novel. (Not counting my semi-serious highschool attempts.) I did 4-5 chapters in college about magic gemstones that granted elemental powers. Last year I wrote approximately 15,000 words about a great swordsman refusing to serve his king in war, and had his arm amputated as punishment.
I wanted this one to be in a more modern day, urban setting, but still with some fantasy elements. The story focuses on a teenager who recently lost his mother. His father copes badly, losing his job and drinking more. They move to a poor neighborhood filled with gangs, which the main character becomes involved with. The gangs are pushing a new drug, which the kid also gets involved with. Struggling with addiction will be a theme of the book, as well coping with loss and how people try to comfort themselves.
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo in the past, or will you try this year? Share your experience or novel idea in the comments below!

Writing Achievements: A Novel Idea

I love achievements. I enjoy being able to admire all my badges, symbols, points and trophies. There’s something immensely satisfying about seeing these icons, the way they flaunt and display all your hard work and dedication. I don’t care if it’s a star sticker next to my name for perfect attendance, a boy scout badge for helping the elderly, or an overwhelming stock of Trophies and Gamerpoints, I love Achievements.

Video games did help push these achievements into the spotlight for me though.  Gone were the days of dusty save files crowded on cramped memory cards. I now had an entire bulletin board posting my success, one pushpin at a time. It was all archived and showcased in one place.

Then, I thought about writing a novel. What achievements could I acquire for that? It’d be inspirational to see my writing status in a simliar fashion to my favored video games. I could strive for the greyed out icons, their conditions plainly visible; and the reward just as tangible.

The beginning would be all the easy stuff you got just for trying the game. “You Claimed the Title of (Writer)!” and “Thought of your First Character!” come to mind. First few hours gives mild nods to your progress. “Wrote 1 Chapter!” and “Started a Conflict!” spring up.

Once you get going you will always have those consistent Achievements for accumulating so much time spent with the project. “Completed 5 (10, 25, 50) Chapters!” and “10,000 (50,000; 100,000) Written Words” are obvious choices. Optional  Achievements will start to show up, ones not directly associated with completing the game. These could include:
“Wrote the Perfect Metaphor!”
“Successfully Executed Foreshadowing!”
“Used a Plot Twist!”
“Introduced a Conflict!”

Towards the end we would tie up loose ends on our Achievements, filling in anything we were missing. These might be “Completed a Major Character Arc!” or “The Hero Triumphed!” for a winning battle scene. You may be able to kill off a villian, “Evil Vanquished!” and fill in the final numbers for the completion Achievements.

Beating the game (novel) would always simultaneously award a few  Achievements. “You Wrote a Novel!” and “Check Off DRAFT 1!”

Of course, there is always postgame content, and just because you wrote a novel, it doesn’t mean you are done. You’ll need a few last Achievements to complete the list.
“Revised: Completed a Revision!”
“Create a Hype!”
“It’s in your Hands Now!” (Become Published)
“Owner of Renown!”
“Mastered Job Title: Author!”

Once you’ve perfected your game,  got the best weapons, beat the hardest bosses, and found all the secrets… well there’s always more games. There’s always more books to be written. Obtain old Achievements in new ways, or go for the new ones, it will never be completely the same.

What Achievements would you get for your writing? Let me know!