November’s gone

November is gone; I have once again written a 50k-plus-word novel. As you may recall, this one is my first in English; I fully intend to inflict it on you once I get it into more manageable condition; probably in January.

As it is now… it’s not all that pretty. 50k words in 30 days (well, 23 days and a week of rest — well, 22 days writing because one day went dead from traveling) means I haven’t seen most of the words since I wrote them. Which usually means that about once every two pages I’ve written the wrong word — not just a badly chosen word, which come oftener, but literally thought “I’ll write ‘he ate the mushroom'” and then written “he ate that mushroom”. And it seems my other chosen mistype is ending verbs with -d instead of -s, or the other way round.

And then there are those cool details that I, er, forgot the next day and need to look out for, and the sudden twists that could look a lot less random and desperate with a bit foreshadowing, and the sort. (It’s nice to be such a clueless chump as I am; because I lack all appreciation and understanding of literature, I can freely and happily wallow in my own tricks, and think them good.)

Er, have a graph.

The blue squares tell the wordcount after each day; the red line tells the steady average (1666 words/day) to finish 50k in 30 days. (As for those typical mistakes, I first wrote “me wordcount” when I meant “the wordcount”.)

It was around day 14 that I hit a plot tangle; because of that, I finished in 23 days and not 17-18. And yup, the first few days are 3500, 2000, 3200, 3350, 3100 words; sometimes you are just a conduit for the Story Gods. (In this case Eris and Megatron.)

As for the technical bits, well, I wrote straight into Texmaker, a LaTeX editor for Ubuntu. Straight into a generic book template of my own tinkering, with the page size, margins, font and etcetera corresponding roughly to those of your typical mass market paperback. Mostly because it makes the novel seem so much more real when you can compile it and see you’re at page 41 already. (I understand people who do this professionally use some double-spaced Courier thingie — I find that ugly, and as this is mainly a project of personal amusement and gratification, I use what I most enjoy.)

(And there’s nothing wrong with “personal amusement and gratification”, provided you don’t disturb other people and wash your hands afterwards.)

As for the writing experience, well, whee! English is easy! At least for quantity; I shan’t opine on quality. And at least when you’ve done the 50k words in 30 days in Finnish a couple of times; there may be the same number of letters used, but Finnish uses longer, agglutinative words. I easy hit 3000 words per day when the plot went forward. (Generally speaking it did.)

As is usual, after the first two weeks I had to periodically doodle up and lock away Ideas; getting into writing means I start getting big huge Ideas for the other stories I could be writing. Sometimes high and flighty concepts; sometimes just single lines, like an alien barking “Look like humans? Ha! Ha! Ha! The most self-centered statement I’ve ever heard—“, or “nnwm cyoa” — a NaNoWriMo novel that is a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Or the idea of a portal fantasy, people of our world thrown into one of fantasy, with two novel differences: (1) the “normal” people aren’t there for a reason, and have that crucial bit of initiative to come up with a Reason on their own; and (2) are mature enough to look around and say, “Golly gee! This medieval place could benefit from a few modern tricks of technology, but even moreso from a few ideas of morality! Like feminism, rights for gays, a little bit less Orc-demonization and some democracy and— wait a moment, they will think us Dark Lords as sure as Pat Robertson does— and is it right to force them into this or should we seduce— and wait, this is becoming a really awkward colonialism parallel—”

Also, “To think of really impractical ideas, how about a darker and edgier novel reboot of the life and times of Scrooge McDuck?”

Yup; of the ideas, the NaNoWriMo CYOA is the most practicable; I think I have a few thousand words I wrote a year or two ago somewhere that would work for it. They start with You landing at Helsinki Airport to deliver a package to the University since you’re passing through and have a day to spare; pretty soon insanity, mania, body-shaved bears and deranged heavy metal musicians intrude and the forests have You.

I could write each bit in a different file and then work up a bash script to turn them to proper linked html and put them up at— or hammer (typoed in as “matter”) out macros for hyperlinks in a pdf file and— ah, that’s a project for a different day. (Wait a minute, it should not be impossible to create such source files and bash-macros that they’d create both tex-pdf and a cluster of html—)

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