by syaffolee

Ode to the End

I just realized: Beethoven, a secondary character in this year’s Nanowrimo novel, wrote nine complete symphonies. Winter on a Watch Glass is my ninth Nanowrimo novel. I wonder if the choice of Beethoven over other composers was partially based on the unconscious recognition of this coincidence.

It is the last day of November and I am sure many people are cramming in those last minute words. I’m worried about other deadlines at the moment, but for Nano, I’m finished. I passed 50k on the twenty-first but I kept writing because the story wasn’t finished. And I harbored the hope that I would beat my record in 2005 of 74k.

I typed in the last word on 1:00 pm, November 29. According to my word processor (Open Office), I had over 90k words. However, due to a discrepancy between Open Office and the validator, I “lost” two thousand words. So officially, I only have 88k words. But still, that’s more than 74k.

So what was different this year compared to the previous years? I’m not quite sure. The beginning of the month was somewhat rough emotionally. I knew that if I had decided to quit right then, no one would blame me. There are many things in life that are more important than writing a novel. And I’ve proved that I can reach 50k eight times already. I technically had nothing else to prove.

But the critical question was, why not? Every year is a challenge of one kind or another. Unless you set out to write the same sort of novel every year, the challenge will always be different. The time is somewhat scattered, but there were six entire days in which I wrote nothing. But skipped days never bothered me before. Why should it now? Besides my grandmother, a stubborn woman herself, wouldn’t have wanted me to quit. In a way, Nanowrimo is about persistence. You have to ask yourself: are you persistent enough to keep going even when everything seems bleak? Or are you the sort of person who drops out at any opportunity? I do not quit at things in real life–otherwise, I wouldn’t be where I am now–so why quit now?

Another thing that I attribute to my increased word count this year is Twitter and the recently instigated word sprints. Eventually, I did my own self-imposed sprints that were more conducive to my schedule, but I think this actually helped me increase the number of words I got in an hour (along with a little typing game that I had started playing). Where in previous years I averaged about one thousand words for each hour, this year I cut that time in half. There were even times when I wrote more than one thousand words in thirty minutes. This also resulted in chapters that were twice as long as the ones in previous years.

And the story itself? I’m not really sure what to say about it at this point. I think it’s a little too close to the time I finished it to have anything about it sink into me. Was I passionate about the story? I’m also not quite sure what to say to that either. However, I knew that I wanted to see the end to it. I think there were times when it was obvious that I was flagging–especially when zombies started appearing. Otherwise, everything in the story was either planned or already simmering at the back of my mind.

So the end result? A historical dark fantasy located in a thinly veiled early 19th century Heidelberg with necromancy, poisonings, zombies, and death by belly dancing. Napoleon is also involved somehow. It’s here, which can either be read in installments or downloaded in its entirety.

(Cross-posted at Writing Sya.)