Home > NaNoWriMo > NaNoWriMo 2009: With a Day to Spare

NaNoWriMo 2009: With a Day to Spare

It’s been nearly a week since I hit the 50,000-word mark in National Novel Writing Month 2009.

This was the first time in five years that I managed to complete the goal. The last time, in 2004, yielded the first “official” OtherSpace novel – Red-Eye Flight.

I’d had starts, stutters, and stops in the years between, but nothing ever really clicked for me. In 2006, 2007, and 2008 – well, let’s just say that I had enough writing work to do on Fallen Earth without trying to squeeze a novel out in a month. I wasn’t going to bother trying this year.

Then the relenting began. First, I said, “No, I won’t write a novel, but, hey, I’ll come up with 50,000 words of lore for the new JTS site.” But the closer we got to November, the more “meh” I got with that idea. Yes, the new site needed content to fill gaps, but I just didn’t feel motivated to spend a full month writing long-winded blurbs that amounted to glorified encyclopedia entries. I wanted to take some characters for a test drive, throw some challenges at them, and put some flesh on the bones of a few cultures in the OtherSpace universe while I was at it. That meant a work of fiction. More to the point, it meant an actual novel. The clincher: Someone who had picked up a copy of Red-Eye Flight commented on what a treasure trove of information it was for anyone who played during the classic OtherSpace era, before our 2009 reboot. Wouldn’t it be cool, they wondered, if we had something similar for the current incarnation of the game?

Yes, I agreed. It would be cool. So, I went from “No way” to “National Encyclopedia Writing Month” to “NaNoWriMo 2009” just like that.

Early parts of the novel were written during my vacation in Charleston in early November, which allowed me to zip ahead of the pace. When I came back to Cary, I got sick – my ever-present sinus problems – and that left me sidelined for a couple of days. I fell behind the pace. I stayed behind the pace until the long Thanksgiving weekend. That’s when I was able to match the pace and even exceed it. I finished writing No Son of Hekayt on Nov. 29, a day before it technically needed to be finished.

I considered Red-Eye Flight a complete work when NaNoWriMo 2004 closed. I had set out to write a space opera-fied Canterbury Tales – mission accomplished. I didn’t have a specific single homage to pay this time. And by the time I reached the end of what I was writing for NaNoWriMo 2009, I felt that the story was only just getting started. So, I’ve still got work to do.

Overall, I had an excellent time in November – other than when I was sick. The writing never felt like a grind. I still got to spend time relaxing, running instances on WoW, watching movies, reading, knocking people around in Mafia Wars, tweeting, and, oh yeah, working.

I may take some time to go more into depth about the process of writing for NaNoWriMo 2009 in the coming days. I’ve been coming down off the “Wow, I wrote a huge amount in a short time” high. Could be a good time to look back and analyze it all.

If you’ve never tried NaNoWriMo before, I recommend it as an exercise in creativity and determination.

If you gave it a try this year and finished, kudos!

If you just gave it a shot but didn’t finish – well, there’s always next year, but you deserve points for the effort.

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