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It’s Over, Finally (The Writing, That Is)

Red Dino

Some of you may be wondering, what happened to the Chile Underground, your favorite website.  (This is your favorite site, yes?)  Others may even be worried.  Frantic’s okay too. Just don’t rush over here, looking to save the day. It’s saved, already. Not that I feel any better about it this morning.

Hangover, don’tcha know. Oh, not a classical exploding head. Just the downer that comes from knowing the crew I rolled with all during November has gone back to normal pursuits, such as work (yes, some of them actually work for a living), cleaning kitchen, doing laundry (lucky tee shirts and all), gardening, eating and responding to spouses’ queries.

You see, NaNoWriMo is over for another year. This one, the 12th for the non-profit organization known as the Office of Letters and Light, was the best and biggest ever. Remember, the “objective” here is to write a novel in 30 days. Some interesting statistics:

There were over 250,000 registered participants this year.  Twelve years ago, there were twenty…

Over 3.07 billion words (yes, with a B) were reported by registered crazies, er, writers.  That’s like re-writing Wikipedia. Twice.

Final reports are sketchy, but it seems over 50% reached the 50,000+ word level.

Over a million posts were added to the Forums during the month.  Imagine how many more novels could have been written if they’d focused instead…

I had a bad start and a killer finish. I was busy dying from a head cold, then a sinus infection (they do that, sometimes), and seven days in I was over 10,000 words behind.  I considered tossing in the towel and getting on with my life. However, the story wouldn’t quit torturing my brain, even after the doctor’s magical little pills got me vertical and partially functional again.

So I endeavored to catch up. It’s a deceptively simple thing, you see.  You only need 1,700 words a day, if you write every day. Shoot, that’s a short essay for college, right? And you don’t have to edit; just write words. Piece of cake. (Had to get food involved.) Even with 7 days lost, the challenge was only a little over 2,200 a day for me. I totally knew I could do it.

I fired up the word processor and tracking spreadsheet and set to work.

Of course, my original, personal goal of 105,000 words was right out the window. That’s like what, 5,000 words a day?  At my usual pace of 700 words an hour of sketchy, draft fiction, that’s a lot of long days. With Turkey Day looming. No way. Just make the stinkin’ 50,000 and call it good. Reload in 2012.

Remember that pesky story, though? It refused to be written in such small chunks. To make a long story short, I finished with 140,585 words of draft. Three days I cleared 11,000 words. I had five zeros from the first week, but I did seven days of 7,000 or so to make up for those. My average rate for the days I wrote words (25 of them) was 5,600, and my best three days in a row netted 28,000 words.

That’s more than half the challenge, in three successive days. Whew!

My personal goal of 105,000 seems paltry in hindsight.  Next year I’ll try for the mega-writer’s level of 200,000 or so.  Mebbe.  (Looking around to see that wifey’s not peeking at this.) Easy as pie, if I get all 30 days in play. I better have a good plot laid out, though; no time for research or brainstorming at that rate!

Now that the fun is over, all I need to do is get over NaNoWriMo addiction and get back to writing about food. It’s tough going cold turkey, though. (Get it? Cold Turkey? Man, I really crack me up.) I feel a lot like this poor leech, actually. Give me a few days to tie up some loose ends and crank back up. Then we can enjoy the Underground’s special flavors of journalism, wit and merry-making for another eleven months…

Looking Through Thousands of Words of Hot Fiction…


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