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Novel Writing-Age: NaNoWriMo 2014

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Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
My fellow GAFers! Have you dreamed of writing a novel some day, but somehow never gotten around to it? Do you hate having free time? Then NaNoWriMo may be right for you.

http://www.nanowrimo.org

NaNoWriMo.org said:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You!

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight.
Write a 50,000 word (175 page) novel in a month? Yes it's insane, but that's the point. Write like hell, shut down your internal editor (that can come later), and just get it done.

NaNoWriMo.org said:
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
We're nearly there, but you've still got a little bit of time to think about what you want to write, and start outlining or worldbuilding or whatever kind of prep you want to do. :)

We had 150 (!) GAF participants and 54 winners last year. Let's see if we can beat our high score for another year!

I will keep the following post updated with participants and their word counts.


FAQ:
The internets are broken?
No, the site is just getting hammered. This happens every year.

How do I write 50k words?
One at a time. Seriously though, if you can keep up with the benchmark (1,667 a day) you're golden. If you can't, don't panic, just set aside a weekend day or days to play catchup.

Any other strategies?
If you can, aim for 2000 a day rather than just keeping pace with the benchmark. This leaves you some elbow room for a few bad days later on in the month, which is a huge help for the week 2-3 doldrums. Also, try the sprints and word wars! I've got plans to do some NaNoGAF Google hangouts for word sprints, but I'm not sure yet what form exactly that will take. Keep an eye out!

How do I update my word count?
Great question. In previous years, we've just posted them in the thread and then I drop them into the leaderboard. We're still going to do that this year, but I've built a tool to help me keep up. Please precede any wordcount that you want put into the leaderboard with "WC:", on a new line. Commas are fine, periods used as decimals are not.

Will work:
"WC: 5000" "wc:5,000" "wc:5k."

Will not work:
"WC: 5000 and 1000 more later" "WC:5.0k" "wc:1000 more than yesterday"

Yes, it's a little bit picky. Work with me here, I'm not an expert programmer. ;)

Is there any reason to actually sign up on the site itself?
Yes! First of all, you can have your novel officially validated by the site (copy/paste from your word processor into their word counter). This lets you officially win, and gets you congratulations and all sorts of fame and glory. Second, by signing up, you will get "pep talk" emails each week from famous authors. This year, that list includes Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, and Tamora Pierce!

Does my story have to be an original work of genius?
No. It's whatever you want to write. So write a Harry Potter/Thundercats slashfic that uses the story structure of Jane Austen's Emma to your heart's content.

Can I/Do I have to share a synopsis or excerpts?
You don't have to do anything in this thread except update your word count if you want to be on the leaderboard in the OP. But if you want to share any of your writing, or your plot, or your totally awesome characters, please do so! It adds to the fun.

Where's the old list of year-by-year winners?
Good eye! I've removed that as it took up a lot of thread space. But I'm keeping it updated and it's right here.

Has anyone on GAF had their NaNo professionally published?
Why, what a timely question! GAF's own H.Protagonist may not have technically won with her 2012 story, Dead Endings, but she damn well got it published! See here for the full details (plus way cool illustrations!).


Useful tools:
Hangouts:
We have two places to hang out. Google Hangouts, with a structured hangout planned for every Sunday from 2-4 PM Pacific time. I will post a link in the thread whenever those go live.
The second is the new GAF NaNo Tinychat room. It can be found here: http://tinychat.com/writinggaf The password is (quote to see):
The Tinychat should be always running and you should feel free to go in and hang out whenever you feel like getting some writing done, or maybe chatting a little. If people want to organize word sprints or anything using the Tinychat, that's totally cool!

Software:
Scrivener: a word processor that incorporates scene and character notes, outlines, research documents, and more. Get a free trial through December 7th for NaNo. (And a discount on the full version if you win!)
Q10: an alternative word processor which removes all distractions, helping you focus on your work.
Write or Die: start writing in a text box. And don't stop... or else. Give it a try, very motivating. (also has a newer downloadable version)

Sites:
Snowflake Method: a highly recommended system that helps you get from single-sentence plot to detailed outline. I have used this several times and it was instrumental in actually completing those novels.
Adoptions: on the NaNo forums, it's traditional to leave some ideas that other people can pick up and run with. Adopt a plot, adopt a plot twist, adopt a title, and many more!
NaNo Sprints: start your engines! Get off to the races with some NaNo sprints, where you compete with other NaNoers to write a bunch of words in a short interval. Also on Twitter.
Backwards NaNo: a slightly different way of managing your word count. It's amortized! That means for the first two weeks, you're writing a lot more than everyone else. But by the last day, you only have to write a single word!

Other:
How to Get and Develop Killer Story Ideas: Youtube video of a con lecture. Does what it says on the tin.
No Plot? No Problem: a book by the site's founder, intended as an aid for completing your novel and getting through the month.
The 90-Day Novel: sure we don't have 90 days, but a reliable source tells me this book is a "wildly useful resource." I'm using it myself this year, and it's great so far!

And, of course, this thread! Feel free to post questions here, or ask for feedback on your outline/structure, or just complain about how goddamn hard it is. We're here for you! The camaraderie is part of what makes it fun. :)
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
Winners:
Code:
Mike M			86,664
Gazoinks		71,191
BeesEight		66,658
Figboy79		58,743
GSR			55,945
SquiddyCracker		55,000
Aiustis			54,665
Aerocrane		53,593
EskimoJoe		52,163
Sonicbug		51,672
Schlomo			51,411
Aon			51,266
Norua			51,217
matthewwhatever		51,135
Narag			50,887
irriadin		50,725
Croll			50,603
LegendX48		50,592
toythatkills		50,591
CyclopsRock		50,569
Sorastitch		50,490
Cyan			50,447
Delio			50,434
Plasticine		50,431
Aiii			50,351
Ashes			50,342
Sober			50,180
Alur			50,164
mu cephei		50,142
CheesecakeRecipe	50,139
drowsy			50,137
WriterGK		50,137
Evilisk			50,129
Obscured		50,126
viciouskillersquirrel	50,119
Nezumi			50,066
Schlocky		50,064
Cryptozoologist		50,059
The Scollard		50,053
Zelias			50,050
bluepolicebox		50,048
meijiko			50,042
-Cade			50,036
bakemono		50,032
Geido			50,031
Timu			50,028
Ourobolus		50,017
YesNOnoNOYes		50,011
DumbNameD		50,010
Jintor			50,006
Collete			50,002
Leaderboard:
Code:
Mr.Swag			47,520
fredrancour		42,018
Huw_Dawson		38,000
Osorio			36,021
xeris			34,067
360pages		33,851
NeoGiff			30,091
Korigama		30,014
FlowersisBritish	25,816
Sign			24,411
sparky2112		21,561
Vagabundo		20,764
Mifune			20,670
killer rin		16,438
Aaron			15,228
EliCash			15,000
Elfforkusu		14,715
LiamExe			14,576
Kimaka			13,219
DarkChronic		12,763
buy teh haloz		12,261
Petit Melon		11,168
lastflowers		10,000
Loona			8,600
Bananakin		8,340
theWB27			8,286
Incendiary		7,480
Metaphoreus		7,353
Korten			7,094
Sub-Zero at a Starbucks	7,017
Laughing Banana		6,500
Cloud Strife		6,364
Weapxn			6,199
Karu			6,157
Iph			6,133
kunu			6,132
toddhunter		6,052
StormBrute		5,865
RedBoot			5,059
Jarkenson		4,276
Aiko Heiwa		4,048
ThoseDeafMutes		4,005
Necromanti		4,000
Cyber Caesar		3,414
timetokill		3,276
esterk			3,228
Charade			3,145
Pickman			3,112
Musha_Soturi		3,097
Bootaaay		3,068
Enduin			3,049
Screaming Meat		2,875
RadicalRad		2,625
TheGreatDirector	2,567
Valerie Cherish		2,539
P44			2,261
Zweizer			2,256
Dresden			2,120
javadoze		2,111
Master Milk		2,033
exmachina64		2,025
John Dunbar		2,005
Verdre			2,001
Nappuccino		2,000
besada			1,673
Blargonaut		1,285
William			1,257
Candeldandel		1,250
ElMexiMerican		1,244
Notrollious		1,243
bengraven		375
Syncytia		319
(People in red have completed NaNoWriMo previously. The benchmark for completing 50k in 30 days is bolded.)
 

BlueSteel

Member
Sep 20, 2011
1,516
0
0
Damn, can't believe it's been a year.

I wasn't going to... but I'm strongly thinking about it again.
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,924
5
0
Washington
On the one hand, I'm not taking any time off from work this year.

On the other, I think I'm far more prepared this time around...
 

SneakySneaks

Member
Feb 4, 2013
1,165
0
0
I bombed big time last year. This year I have a somewhat better outline, so I'll attempt to write more than two chapters this time around.
 

Ourobolus

Keeper of the Book
Feb 27, 2008
18,507
5
1,075
I succeeded last year, but my schedule sucks hard this year. Still gonna try though!
 

MetalGuardian

Banned
Jan 9, 2011
3,951
0
0
Odd timing for this thread (or not, since 'tis the season), since I literally just started working again on my book from last NaNo that I haven't touched since November.

I couldn't pull it off last year when I worked 10 hours a week, so I certainly won't even attempt to do it this year now that I'm gone 12 hours every weekday for my real person adult job. I'll still keep working on my book from last year though while cheering you guys and gals on from the sidelines. Good luck everyone!
 

Orbis Tabula

Member
Aug 20, 2010
15,617
0
0
Dinosaurs were actually intelligent, they experimented with hadron colliders, an expedition was sent through a wormhole, they pop out on the otherside in present day and discover that their society has been lost and that furry apes have risen to the top.
And they blew it all up, those damn dirty apes.
 

Karu

Member
Jun 22, 2013
3,176
0
0
I have to write my Bachelor thesis in november, that might be a little bit of a problem. But I still try to participate. Throwing notes and stuff on a word document since start of October for characters & general themes/ideas, so that stuff is covered by then. Would be my first NaNo... kinda exciting.
The timing with the thesis paper really bumps me out right now. But that shit gotta go, I guess... :p.
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
I have to write my Bachelor thesis in november, that might be a little bit of a problem. But I still try to participate. Throwing notes and stuff on a word document since start of October for characters & general themes/ideas, so that stuff is covered by then. Would be my first NaNo... kinda exciting.
The timing with the thesis paper really bumps me out right now. But that shit gotta go, I guess... :p.
Oh, a thesis. Is that really important?
 

Cloud Strife

Member
Sep 12, 2013
6,651
0
0
Canada
I started last week and am already at 25k, but it needs a lot of editing.

I think I'll start from scratch again in November and see if I can do this!
 

besada

Banned
Feb 16, 2007
27,373
6
0
I am in. I did recently change my mind about WHAT I was going to write for this, but I'm still in.
 

Collete

Member
Jun 29, 2010
3,666
0
660
Here we go again :O

Sign me up, of course I'll join :D

(As regards of an update on my novel I did last year in NanoWriMo, I didn't get where I wanted after the month was done, so I still wrote and finished the novel in May. Now I'm just trying to edit and iron out the wrinkles...Maybe it'll be done next year? =_=)
 
Oct 14, 2006
18,101
0
1,155
Damn, can't believe it's been a year.

I wasn't going to... but I'm strongly thinking about it again.
Me too. Last year, I basically rewrote (read: ballooned to 30 chapters) the NaNovel from the year before, and like three months ago, decided to rework the initial conflict point in that story completely. I still haven't done that because it requires scrapping three chapters and making changes to about twenty more.

I keep reading what I've written and thinking it's terrible. What's worse is that my original plan was just to write an absurd story to read to my (then soon to be born) son. At this rate, he'll be able to read it himself by the time I'm finished with it :/

I don't know if I have it in me to write another story.

F*ck it. I'm in
 

Orbis Tabula

Member
Aug 20, 2010
15,617
0
0
Wait! Just posting in this thread is enough to get my name up on the board!? I didn't say I was going to participate. Too many mods in here for me to back out now, though...ah well, guess I'm doing it. BUT NOT BY CHOICE SO DON'T JUDGE ME WHEN I FAIL.
 

Ashes

Member
Dec 11, 2008
23,382
0
855
Greater London
2006: 14 participants. 0 winners.
2007: 36 participants. 5 winners.
2008: 32 participants. 10 winners.
2009: 55 participants. 13 winners.
2010: 61 participants. 21 winners.
2011: 99 participants. 34 winners.
2012: 110 participants. 36 winners.
2013: 150 participants. 54 winners.
 

Collete

Member
Jun 29, 2010
3,666
0
660
Hey just a thought, Cyan, maybe you should color code winners that won the challenge more than once. Though I don't know if mods have the power to have other color texts besides red, but it's a thought.
 
Sep 8, 2010
18,402
0
0
Philly area
I'm in. A mucho lighter semester means my month of november is going to be super slow.

Also been slowly world building and coming up with a story so I assume I can piece together something from what I have in my head.
 

bluepolicebox

Member
May 22, 2013
2,705
0
0
I'm in :( I won in 2009, 2011, and 2012 but never had the pleasure of partipating with GAFfers. Ugh. I hate that sick pre-NaNo doomy feeling.
 

CyclopsRock

Member
Jul 6, 2012
12,297
0
490
I've been waiting for this, Cyan!

I'm very in, after winning in 2012. I'm in the middle of my plotting now and I'm really into my story - a mystery about why Earth's many attempts at landing a manned ship on Pluto have always failed, and whether there may be foul play going on! - so I can't wait.

I'm also taking a slightly more active role in the London NaNo scene, organising a weekly meet up in a pub, so that'll be fun! I love all the coffee shop ones, but it'll be nice to do some writing with a whiskey or five inside me/us.

BRING ON NOVEMEBER!
 

Sober

Member
Feb 8, 2008
14,644
0
0
I'm in. Same strategy as last year, minus the part where I start, stop for half the month then barrel straight to the end with all I've got.

I really should be looking harder for a job than 1667 words a day, so it's a little iffy right now if I'm even gonna make it.
 

Nappuccino

Member
Nov 16, 2008
11,712
0
0
I have a creative thesis to work on . . . so I should write like I have a creative thesis. Is there anyway to modify the word count for this thread, or should I just take the struggling, inevitable failure I know it'll be lol.
 

CyclopsRock

Member
Jul 6, 2012
12,297
0
490
A little tip for anyone who wants to maximise their chances of succeeding, especially if they haven't before: When I was plotting in London in 2012 with some other NaNoers (this was my first time and the plotting events were very handy!) there was a guy there who is actually a professional author - nothing big time but it's how he makes his living. He gaves me some advice - that for when you're plotting, roughly every word you write will equate to about 10 in terms of final prose. So if you do 5,000 words of detailed plotting along with character traits and stuff, that should turn in to roughly 50,000 words when you come to turn it into prose. Not only that, but plotting it out roughly like that first makes it SOOOO much easier to sit down and just bang 2,000 words out. When I ended up doing NaNo that's exactly how it worked out for me - I wrote about 4,000 words of plotting and around when I hit 40k I started struggling for what to write.

The way I did plotting then (And how I'm doing it now) is to start with a single paragraph summary of events, then knock that into a 3 act arc one a single paragraph each. Then I take each sentence from each paragraph and extrapolate a bit, and then finally use this to write chapter summaries. What I find happens when I do this is that the sum of the chapter summaries end up being quite different to my initial 1 paragraph summary, but that's how it's supposed to work!

That works for me anyway. I found that for as long as I had planned story to write to, the writing was so, so easy.

Oh, and go to meet ups if you can! It really, really helps!
 

Cyan

Banned
Jun 10, 2004
34,830
0
0
:D

But the OP says "we're now in November!"
D'oh, that's what I get for copy/pasting.

Wait! Just posting in this thread is enough to get my name up on the board!? I didn't say I was going to participate. Too many mods in here for me to back out now, though...ah well, guess I'm doing it. BUT NOT BY CHOICE SO DON'T JUDGE ME WHEN I FAIL.
Mwahaha. Yes, the NaNoBot is indiscriminately assuming that anyone posting in this thread wants to sign up. It does have an exclusion list, but no one really wants to be on that list, do they? :p

Hey just a thought, Cyan, maybe you should color code winners that won the challenge more than once. Though I don't know if mods have the power to have other color texts besides red, but it's a thought.
It's a cool idea, but I don't think the forum software does anything other than red.

I've been waiting for this, Cyan!

I'm very in, after winning in 2012. I'm in the middle of my plotting now and I'm really into my story - a mystery about why Earth's many attempts at landing a manned ship on Pluto have always failed, and whether there may be foul play going on! - so I can't wait.

I'm also taking a slightly more active role in the London NaNo scene, organising a weekly meet up in a pub, so that'll be fun! I love all the coffee shop ones, but it'll be nice to do some writing with a whiskey or five inside me/us.

BRING ON NOVEMEBER!
Awesome! Meetups are a great time, that's really cool that you're working on them. And yes, a pub meetup sounds particularly fun. :)
 

Timu

Member
Sep 8, 2013
20,072
3
0
Saint Leonard, MD
2006: 14 participants. 0 winners.
2007: 36 participants. 5 winners.
2008: 32 participants. 10 winners.
2009: 55 participants. 13 winners.
2010: 61 participants. 21 winners.
2011: 99 participants. 34 winners.
2012: 110 participants. 36 winners.
2013: 150 participants. 54 winners.
Seems to increase each year.o_O
 

Mike M

Nick N
Jun 9, 2005
12,924
5
0
Washington
roughly every word you write will equate to about 10 in terms of final prose. So if you do 5,000 words of detailed plotting along with character traits and stuff, that should turn in to roughly 50,000 words when you come to turn it into prose.
I have 35-40K words of pre-writing between my outline and character shit, I really hope that doesn't translate into a 350,000 word book!

(Actual outline alone though? Sounds like a pretty good rule of thumb.)
 

Cade

Member
Mar 1, 2012
4,803
0
0
In like Flynn. Been working off and on on various concepts throughout the year, but not using any of them. unsure what I'm doing with this
 
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