It was a very narrow margin of success, but I managed to grind up above the 30,000 word mark by the end of the day on April 30th. I sustained my 1,000-words-a-day experiment through two solid months. At the end of it all, I managed to escape with 61,124 words of a brand new novel that wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye in January, when I first started this blog. In addition, this means that I’ve now won my second NaNoWriMo event (the first being a Script Frenzy—an event now, sadly, defunct).
You may have noticed the banner.
That’s pretty goddamned insane. 61k is over half the word count of my previous novel, dialed in over the course of two months. Which should come as no surprise to me, but hell. I didn’t figure I’d be able to keep that volume of production up.
But as April was coming to a close, I was hitting a wall. Pretty hard, too. I’m not sure how to describe this, because I don’t feel like it was laziness. It was more a need for a recharge. Don’t think I haven’t been trying to keep my creative engine fueled, though. I’ve been feeding my writing beast a LOT these past couple of months, from as many sources of media as I could find.
- Role Playing Public Radio’s Eclipse Phase campaign “Know Evil”
- More of the second season of Farscape
- The Game Grumps playing Pokemon FireRed
- Timebound, a YA time travel novel
- Regular doses of Dungeons & Dragons
- The entire series of the anime Kill la Kill
- Good old-fashioned Call of Cthulhu
- The Last Unicorn, and a brief brush with Peter S. Beagle
- The Flash
- Linkage Ring, a J-pop album by Garnidelia
- The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
- Servant of the Shard, by RA Salvatore
- Dragon Age: Origins (until it squicked me so hard I gave it up, anyway)
- Full Moon, a tabletop RPG by Paul Stefko
And tons of shit that I’m sure I’ve just forgotten over time.
Despite all of this, though, I think I’ve finally drained the creative tank. I worked as hard as I could to funnel just as much into my brain slash soul slash throbbing biomechanical cardiac nexus as there was stuff spilling out of it into a word processor, but the output finally exceeded the input. So here I am, having barely skated through the end of April, running on fumes.
So I’m gonna take a break, I think. Work on some short-form stuff—maybe some flash fic, or investigate Twine—run a session or two of D&D and Call of Cthulhu, play some video games, basically let the cooling rods in my skull release hissing jets of steam until the gray matter between my ears has sufficiently settled.
It’s been a crazy couple of months, but I’m surprisingly pleased by the material I’ve cranked out since the beginning of March. I think one of the benefits of that pace is that it gives you zero opportunity to reflect on things you might have screwed up on earlier in the novel. There’s no, “Man, I wish this character had done this” or “wow, this makes no sense at all, does it?” If a character would’ve done something, then fuck it. Pretend they did it and keep writing. Story not making sense? Fuck it! We’ll fix it in post. And the kind of creative adrenaline that comes up tends to keep everything you’ve written in soft focus, so even if it wasn’t super great when you put it down, you have a kind of Platonic ideal locked in your memory to keep working from.
I mean, chances are I’m gonna look back and think, “god damn this shit needs a COMPLETE overhaul,” but for right now I’m content with the rose-tinted version of those 61,000 words.
Maybe here in a month or so I’ll see about hammering out another 30k. Wouldn’t that be grand?