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The Winner is Declared

So, LoNoWriMo has come to an end. And, because only one person actually bothered to submit a manuscript for counting, the winner is, by default.....


She had 5,563 words. Congrats, Erin! As the winner, you will be receiving a lovely certificate chronicling your success.

I had 18,461 words.

I don't know what anyone else had, but please feel free to chime in with your final total in a comment, for curiosity's sake.

Also, if you did include the book title "Gay Sex With Pirates: A User's Manual," please share the passage. :)

Finally, if you are disappointed with your performance during LoNoWriMo, but want to continue working on your novel, then here's some good news for you:

March 2009 is Redemption Month.

The goal is to reach 50,000 words and/or the end of your novel by the end of March.

Anyone up for it? If so, awesome, and you can declare your intentions here. However, you'll be pretty much on your own. This community is, of course, open for everyone to post in, so please do avail yourself of it if you want. But this is my last post as moderator.

It's been fun, kids. Better luck next month.

The Beginning of the End

This is it...the LAST DAY of LoNoWriMo 2009.

You have until 12:00:00 AM March 1, 2009 to continue striving toward 50,000 words.

However, whether you hit the mark or not, submit your manuscript to the moderator by 12:10:00 AM March 1 in order to be have your word count officially tallied.

The participant with the highest word count, regardless of whether it is less than 50,000, shall be declared winner of LoNoWriMo!

Of course anyone who hits 50,000 or higher wins. But just in case no one does...there will still be a winner. Maybe it's breaking the rules a little....but, oh well. :) It's more like bending, anyway.

Good luck! Write, write, write away!

Radio Nowhere

So...where is everybody?

How many words do you have left to hit 50,000 by midnight Saturday night?

Are you going to make it?

(Hint: The only correct answer is "yes," no matter how delusional that might seem to you at this point.)

Word count boosters....apply liberally!

Sometimes life conspires against you. For instance, I lost an entire weekend this month to a crisis that popped up, and now I've lost all of yesterday and most of the day before that due to computer problems. Plus there's been work piling up at the place where I actually get paid for it, and work of all other kinds piling up on the other side of life....

BUT, all these are whiny excuses, and I am not giving up! Neither should anybody else.

However, if your wordcount is looking a little pathetic right now, like mine is, you may want to start employing heavily some of the following techniques. They're listed somewhat in order of those of most actual literary value to those of least.

1. Have lots of dialogue. Not only does it boost wordcount, but it makes your book more interesting to read. When characters are talking, it not only gives a the reader a better idea of their personalities and relationships with each other, it also helps a scene read more actively, as though it were being played out on a stage or in a movie.

2. Long descriptive passages. These can get boring if you use them too much, but description and setting are good things in any novel! You're trying to immerse the reader in your world.

3. Dreams. You can use these for foreshadowing or to hint at a character's unconscious mind. Or just to get a few extra hundred words, whatever.

4. Flashbacks. A classic technique to flesh out your story and keep it from being stuck in linear time.

5. Have one character recount the story so far to another character. If you have somebody new show up, or one of your characters missed something important, you can use this trick. You might end up editing it out later, but then again, it could also be useful to tell the story in your character's own words, thus giving the reader their take on it.

6. Include dialogue tags with everything anyone says. "He said," "she asked," that kind of thing. It's cheap, but will give you extra words.

7. Do not include contractions. This one would bug me to death, personally, especially since my book is in first person and the character thinks in contractions just like she speaks. But, again, would mean more words.

Can anyone think of any others?


Benchmark the first, and falling behind...

Hello! So, this is a bit late, but divide 28 by 4 and you get 7, and divide 50,000 by 4 and you get 12,500, so technically, on the 7th, everybody should have been at 12,500 words.

I'm guessing that's not exactly the case for most of us.

But don't despair! It's very early in the game. We still have almost the whole month left! Most of us are experienced procrastinators anyway, right?

Maybe some of you are completely on top of it, however, and are at 12500 or beyond. If so, good for you! Feel free to speak up and brag. The rest of us will be very happy for you and your lousy overachieving ways.

At the second Raleigh/Cary/Chapel Hill write-in last Wednesday, there was much goofing off, writing that was productive but unfortunately not novel-related, and waaay too much sugar in the form of cookies with thick pink icing. But at least some people managed to make good progress. Also, a new rule was decided.


Everyone must include somewhere in their novel, whether by passing mention or more extensive reference, the following book title: "Gay Sex with Pirates: A User's Manual."

So it has been declared.

Okay, well, that's it for now. Keep in mind that the 14th, this Saturday, is not only Valentine's Day, but also the halfway mark of LoNoWriMo. That means you should shoot for 25,000 words by Saturday night. Good luck!

Wilmington Sucks

Yeah, write-ins are the way to go.  That's why your city is kicking my city's ass.  There was no midnight starter pistol down here and definitely no write-in.

 Port City totals are:

Tori - MIA

Lance - Somewhere around 1000 or so

Laura - "Like 800-Twenty-Something"

Me - 366 (weeeeaaakk!)

I had to get up at 5:15, so I actually went to bed at midnight, and the radio station proved to be a very uninspiring environment.  Anyway, that's my excuse.  Awful.  I'm about to do a little more, but not 1700 more.

I know that at least the three people I have word counts for are off tomorrow night, so perhaps we can use that opportunity to stage a write-in to catch up with you guys.

Write-In Report

There are only a few hours left of LoNoWriMo Day One! So, how did it go? Hopefully everyone is off to a good start.

The first write-in here in Cary was a success. Our word counts at the end of the night were as follows:

Jay: 1924
Aras: 1610
Erin: 1977
Jennifer: -163

So everyone got close or surpassed the daily word count goal in the first wee hours of the day! Awesome.

Um, everyone except for me, that is. Well....see, I'm adding 50,000 words to my unfinished NaNo manuscript instead of starting a new project, and I left off in November in the middle of a scene that wasn't going well. So last night I deleted about 400 words, wrote about 1000, realized that wasn't going to work either, deleted it, and wrote about 200. Leaving me still in the negative. >.<

But I redeemed myself in the daylight hours today, as I finally figured out how to make the scene work, got back into the positive numbers, and ended with a respectable word count of 1865. (Total word count: 52,268. I ended NaNo with 50,403.)

Thanks, Aras, for the suggestion of using hot water as a weapon. It turned into hot coffee, but I used it in the scene. :)

Advantages of a write-in:

-People to help you come up with ideas if you get stuck.
-An excuse to eat junk food and consume lots of caffeine.
-Automatic scheduled time to write.
-An excuse to hang out with people.
-People might read entertaining selections of their work, especially if you invite Jay over. :)

Was there a write-in in Wilmington? If so, someone who was there please post and let us know how it went!

We here in Raleigh/Cary/Chapel Hill have decided to try and hold weekly write-ins. Maybe people in other places want to get together and do the same?

Okay troops, report in. What's your current word count? Everyone at or above 1786? Is anyone way above 1786 and off to a huge head start? I'm curious. :)


Okay people, this is it. As of now, you officially have 8 hours and 12 minutes until the start of LoNoWriMo 2009.

Whether you're at a write-in tonight or on your own, remember that the stroke of midnight is your starting gun. Tomorrow will be the first full day, so if you hit anywhere above 1786 words (the daily word count goal, remember?) in combination tonight and tomorrow, count yourself off to a good start. :)

Good luck, everyone!
To make an outline, or not to make an outline.

There are arguments for both sides. Personally, I love that amazing moment where you sit down with a blank page in front of you and no idea what you're going to put on it, and a story seems to magically be channelled out of the creative vacuum and appear as you type. When I started my novel, I had hardly any idea what it was going to be about. It began as a Halloween-themed short story one October long ago, and my entire concept was, "Girl goes to Halloween party, meets someone dressed as a vampire, and it turns out they actually are a vampire."

No, my novel is not terribly original. However, it is pretty terrible!

In any case, the short story didn't really have an end to it, and I liked the characters who had showed up and announced themselves as part of it. So when I decided to do NaNoWriMo halfway through last November, I picked up the story again and started running with it. I had no idea where I was running to. I just figured my main character would get kidnapped by vampires and plot would ensue. For the most part, it worked. I would sit with a notebook beside me as I typed, and when random ideas for future scenes or background details occurred to me, I'd jot them down as I went.

Now granted, at the point where I left off, there was a pretty big plot snag that is going to require me to go back and insert a scene earlier to fix. If I had actually outlined my plot, that probably wouldn't have happened. However, I've also heard of people carefully outlining their entire novel scene by scene and then having a character mutiny on them and take the whole thing somewhere else entirely.

So, what do you think? Is it better to plan in advance, or do you prefer to just see where the story takes you? Are most people starting with outlines, or just a general concept of the book? Is anyone flying completely blind, with no idea what their book will be about?


Writing resources

I found an LJ community today, little_details, where people gather to ask random questions and other people have answers. So if you to know if penises have freckles or inheritance law, or anything else, you can probably find the truth there.