Saturday, December 1, 2007

NaNoWriMo exhaustion and withdrawal

Well, the month is over, and it was an interesting month! I resurrected my "epic" and breathed some new life into it. Found a possible beginning, and solidified the backstory. The backstory is going to need more work, and I might focus on writing just that part of it until it's settled. It's rather complicated and involved, and I think knowing exactly how everything happens will only help me write the series better.

I was discussing various backstory concepts with Chris yesterday, and while I was trying to explain to him how everything works and fits together (though it doesn't all fit together yet), it struck me again that my starting point might not be the best starting point. I think the only way for me to know that is to write the backstory. Not as if I were writing a novel, but more long hand than short hand, or perhaps as a series of short stories.

Also, I realized that I need for the "hero" to come from the real world, although not the 'only one man can save the world' kind of hero; I think those heroes are crap - it always takes more than one person to do anything. There's something that he has in his own "blood", let's say, that is necessary for the development of the entire story, and is why I would start telling the story with him as opposed to some perfectly interesting ideas in the backstory that could just as easily be fleshed out and written by itself.

That frustrated me, because that's not what I wanted to happen.

But I've learned quite a bit this month: in order for me to fix the problems with my ideas, I can't just sit around and think about them. I need to put the seat of my pants in the seat of my chair and write about them. Eventually, everything will work out. That's what I learned from my work at The Story Studio, and what I learned this month.

So what's next? Having to write 50k words in one month was terrific. I needed the pressure of having "writing buddies" who could see my word count, and other people I could talk to that had been through this. And while some have said that they're so burnt out they don't even want to think about writing, I think that means this is exactly the time to think about writing. If we're serious about wanting to be authors, not just writers, this is about the pace we should expect to work at. 25k-50k words per month isn't outrageous, and it's probably what guys like Stephen King do when they're writing.

So I've thought about starting a website where I can post a daily word count, and keep the blog going to serve, at least, as a diary for my work. I'll probably set a goal for around 25k a month until school starts in next fall. Then - I'll be trapped by academia!

NaNoWriMo has posted only one official statistic about the month, and the rest should post soon. I'll post them here when they're available.

The official statistic posted was the total collective word count: 1,098,496,066. That's amazing!

Some other, unofficial statistics:

Top 15 word count by region

RankRegionTotal Wordssort iconAverage WordsDonations

1United States :: Washington :: Seattle15,542,59927,655$4,550.00

2United States :: Maryland15,128,56827,209$2,450.00

3Europe :: Germany & Austria12,221,24931,018$1,475.00

4United States :: Minnesota :: Twin Cities12,219,94926,739$1,940.00

5United States :: California :: Los Angeles11,640,56823,659$3,035.00

6United States :: Illinois :: Chicago11,228,04525,576$1,865.00

7Europe :: England :: London9,440,59724,713$1,280.00

8United States :: New York :: New York City9,422,50028,466$1,660.00

9United States :: Oregon :: Portland9,360,60924,763$1,155.00

10Europe :: England :: Elsewhere9,197,79827,212$890.00

11United States :: California :: East Bay9,041,27327,150$2,750.00

12United States :: Massachusetts :: Boston9,037,11525,673$1,755.00

13United States :: Virginia :: Northern8,528,41024,228$2,970.00

14Canada :: Ontario :: Toronto8,307,65026,542$830.00

15Europe :: Holland & Belgium8,277,22429,456$685.00

Total word count by genre
RankGenreTotal Wordssort iconAverage WordsDonations
1Fantasy 242,414,81224,685$23,625.00
2Other Genres104,288,52721,632$8,840.00
3Science Fiction 91,721,43723,829$13,955.00
4Literary Fiction 84,344,35823,415$14,140.00
5Mainstream Fiction 83,774,07324,617$12,970.00
6Young Adult & Youth 70,104,49421,360$6,960.00
7Mystery & Suspense 57,001,53525,266$9,005.00
8Romance 48,293,38624,243$5,400.00
9Horror & Thriller 40,437,41022,641$3,780.00
10Adventure 35,276,54721,897$4,193.50
11Satire, Humor & Parody 30,595,40120,396$5,345.00
12Historical Fiction 26,980,72025,192$4,030.00
13Chick Lit 25,713,20920,537$3,300.00
14Erotic Fiction 11,444,41623,355$1,135.00
15Religious, Spiritual & New Age 8,698,86621,747$730.00

Fantasy accounted for 24% of the total word count. If you include Sci-Fi in that, then that category, lumped together by booksellers, accounted for 33%.

That a LOT of competition. So I've decided that I want to be a writer, and to top it off I've chosen the genre that, apparently, is the most competitive. Yipee!

1 comment:

Esther said...

I know what you mean on needing a writing buddy. After the last two years of wimping out in December when editing time came, I think I need something like that too.

At least this year I do not want to take a break. I want to keep going. I have a tendency to stare at my finished work and think, "wow, I did that." Then I'll change a word here or there. Systematic editing is more difficult for me.

I'll keep up with you if you like.

I'm probably not going to shoot for a specific word count every month unless I finish editing my current novel and start a new one before next November (that is unlikely). But I do plan to write -- or edit -- every day for at least one or two hours.