National Novel Writing Month 2004!

Emotional anguish on a daily basis, just for you.

The following log is now final; no new entries will be added.

11/10/2004: Monday, Day -21 – 0 words – Introduction and Statement of Intention.

As a successful two-time veteran of the National Novel Writing Month, you would think that throwing my hat in the ring for a third time would be an easy thing to do. After writing and editing (but not really polishing) a first novel in thirty days, and then writing a second one a year later, what’s a third novel, really?

And yet, doubts subsist. While last year’s NaNoWriMo went smoothly (101,000 words in thirty days, top that!), it may have been a fluke. This year’s story isn’t even outlined yet… and I’m not sure I’m as excited about it as I was about last year’s project.

But we will see. That’s the whole point of NaNoWriMo. Part of this year’s goal is to exorcise an old obsession, a script I’ve got lying around the house that I’ve always wanted to novelize. NaNoWriMo is the best way I know to transform an obsession into a prickly first draft manuscript begging to be revised.

I could also use some writing discipline. Thanks to lax habits and endless other projects, 2004 has been a sad festival of procrastination. An actual month spent focusing exclusively on writing would be a good way to break out of the cycle.

So here we go again. Over the next three weeks, I have to develop an outline and psyche myself up for the thirty days of November. The process started today, with a first visit to the NaNoWriMo web site. I re-registered (look for "slorz" in the Ottawa, Ontario area. The link points back to this page) and snooped around. Even with the fancy new graphics, it felt like an old comfortable haunt. I look forward to the whole thing.

Heck, I’m already shaking with anticipation!

Rockland, ON – 11/10/2004 19:03 EST

27/10/2004: Wednesday, Day -5 – 0 words – Busy, but willing.

Here’s a hint: never sign up on the organizing committee of a Science Fiction convention that takes place the three days before NaNoWriMo is set to begin. If you do that, don’t put yourself on five panels. If you do that, don’t volunteer to give two seminars. If you do that, don’t procrastinate in preparing your seminars, convention papers and such.

Notice that I still haven’t said anything about an article, a regular column, monthly book reviews, an APA, regular work and the usual bunch of stuff to do around the house.

All of this to say that I’m still very much a go for this Nanowrimo-2004, but my outline is sketchy once part the fourth chapter. Oh well. I’ve got a screenplay to fall back on, even though I really don’t like the dialogue in it. But then again, it’s been, what, ten years since the first draft?

Rockland, ON – 27/10/2004 21:45 EST

31/10/2004: Sunday, Day -1 – 0 words – Gentlemen, start your creative engines.

Whew. Convention done. Still have a number of drafts to polish, APAs to write, elections to endure and no outline, but I prefer to think of those things not as problems, but as handicaps –in a golf-term sense.

Rockland, ON – 31/10/2004 23:22 EST

01/11/2004: Monday, Day 1 – 1,334 words – Difficult beginnings.

Yikes. Rusty fiction-writing muscles, divided mindspace and the finale of the H20 political thriller (set in Ottawa!) on CBC. Oh well; at least I’m still (barely) on-track for the 50,000 words required by NanoWriMo. Now see me blow tomorrow’s count entirely thanks to the American elections.

Rockland, ON – 01/11/2004 21:43 EST

02/11/2004: Tuesday, Day 2 – 2,785 words – Election Night.

Sorry, people: Prologue done, but it’s election night tonight, not writing night. Plenty of nailbiting to be done.

(Later:) Uh-oh. Sinking feeling. Time for bed and nightmares, now.

Rockland, ON – 02/11/2004 22:48 EST

03/11/2004: Wednesday, Day 3 – 4,032 words – Various observations.

In random order:

  • Let the time-stamp above show that I had called the election for Bu*h at least hours before everyone else, including Fox News.
  • There’s something tremendously ironic, in this post-election day, in frantically pressing the Word XP "recount" button over and over again.
  • It’s great to have a family that cares about NaNoWriMo: coming back home these days, I’m greeted by meals ready to reheat. But please, siblings and parents; would it be possible for me to feed myself at least once this week?
  • Note to self: Don’t do another fight scene in zero-G again. Especially as a prologue.
  • Another note to self: Try to plot the next novel without huge exposition scenes. They’re boring.
  • I sense a day solely dedicated to outlining coming up soon…

Rockland, ON – 03/11/2004 21:12 EST

04/11/2004: Thursday, Day 4 – 6,160 words – Another blah day.

Running behind schedule. Still exposing. I may have found a way to incorporate my electoral displeasure in the story. My lead character may be emerging as an interesting guy after all.

Rockland, ON – 04/11/2004 21:53 EST

05/11/2004: Friday, Day 5 – 7,062 words – Not (THE) INCREDIBLES.

Good news: THE INCREDIBLE immediately lands with a thud on my Top-10 list of the year. Also: I’m finally done with Chapter One. Bad news: Came back home at 19:30 and quickly ran out of writing steam. Tomorrow.

Rockland, ON – 05/11/2004 22:45 EST

06/11/2004: Saturday, Day 6 – 11,068 words – Stuck in Exposition.

A very disappointing weekend day, all things considered: It may have been my best day yet, but given that I was home all day, I should have written a lot more than four thousand words. Oh well; at least I’m improving on the rolling average (at 1,833, I’m still a bit away from the daily 3,000 I was aiming for, though) and slowly getting out of my required background exposition. Things will start to cook as soon as I get to play with an action scene.

Rockland, ON – 06/11/2004 22:04 EST

07/11/2004: Sunday, Day 7 – 14,092 words – Still stuck.

What a disappointing weekend: merely another 3,000 words today, dogged as I was by other things (1,500 more words went to my regular reviews and I had time for a trip to downtown Ottawa) and the sense that this novel just isn’t coming together yet. Yet: I have OK characters and the plot is revving up nicely, but I just don’t feel the natural dramatic arc at this point. It’ll come as we go along: There’s got to be a limit to the number of staff meetings I can stuff in the first four chapters, right? In the meantime, well, at least I did meet my daily (weekday) quota today, even though I remain shamefully behind schedule.

Rockland, ON – 07/11/2004 22:09 EST

08/11/2004: Monday, Day 8 – 17,120 words – Terra Incognita.

Quick reminder: This year’s novel is an adaptation of an existing script. Now don’t get too excited: the script was written ten years ago and if the structure isn’t too bad in a Syd-Field kind of way, the dialogue reads as if it was the work of a high school student (w
hich it was, essentially). So I’m re-using very little from the original script. In fact, I had big plans (see above) to re-write an outline and work from that. Sadly, time flew by and I now find myself at the end of Chapter 4 and nearly at the end of my reworked outline. Problem, or opportunity? We’ll see in the next few days.

At this point, I’m still disappointed at my word-count, but that’s because I’ve got 100,000 as my goal, not the "usual" 50,000. Comparatively speaking, I’m doing quite well, ranking 4th on the Ottawa board and somewhere in the top 10% overall. I still wonder if I’ve got enough juice in the plotline and the characters to reach 100,000, though. In this regard, today was a good day: I took a while, but I met my ideal 3,000-words quota for the first time this month and stretched what could have been a dull exposition scene in a nice (for a first draft) travelogue with bits and pieces of extrapolation. Characters are slowly emerging. I still haven’t touched the capstone of the chapter yet, perhaps the first scene in the novel I’m looking forward to writing.

Rockland, ON – 08/11/2004 22:31 EST

09/11/2004: Tuesday, Day 9 – 20,029 words – Whew!

Work/life balance was a challenge today, what with a lengthy workday (13 hours including transit!) spent providing technical services to a 250+ attendees conference. Whew, but it’s hard to complain when provided with free good food, opportunities to read a thick paperback and access to one of Ottawa/Gatineau’s poshest locations. Still, I made it home only after 18:30, and it took nearly ninety more minutes to start writing.

I mention the above not to whine, but to boast: I still managed to deliver my 3,000-words objective today, and in a relatively short time too. Section one is practically over (only a page or two left) and after that, the plot kicks in medium gear.

But now it’s off to sleep… because it’s a two-day conference.

Rockland, ON – 09/11/2004 22:29 EST

10/11/2004: Wednesday, Day 10 – 22,725 words – Same Story, Different Day

Take yesterday’s entry and repeat more slowly, given that I’m now cumulatively tired. This being said, my siblings are great (they’re now known as "Writer’s Meals on Wheels") and so I still managed to knock off 2,700 words in a drowsy daze. Yes, I know, 300 words to go… but I’m done with Section One (hrhaaah) and I need some quality plotting time. And sleep. Oh, yes, sleep.

Rockland, ON – 10/11/2004 23:09 EST

11/11/2004: Thursday, Day 11 – 26,551 words – How to Waste a Holiday

In retrospect, it seems inevitable that the past two days’ worth of effort would demand payment today. November 11th, of course, is Rememberance Day, and a holiday at my workplace. So I though I’d sleep a little bit more and disactivated my alarm clock. I finally got up at 11:35, which was pretty bad until I realized that I’d misread the digital clock and it was actually 1:35! Aaaargh! I never oversleep like that. Once I factored in the things I had to do but I hadn’t done because I had been extra-busy at work for the past two days, it was 19:30 once more and all of my hopes for an extra-large writing day had been neatly slept away. Grrr.

On the positive side, my pieces are now all positionned (some humorously, some not) for the real plot fireworks to begin. I’m still running behind schedule, but things are not exactly looking bad at this point. Of course, it would help if I don’t oversleep this weekend.

Rockland, ON – 11/11/2004 22:59 EST

12/11/2004: Friday, Day 12 – 30,010 words – Not bad for a Friday

The plot got rolling in a serious way today: First explosion, first chopped-up viewpoint blending. I finally managed to take it over 30,000 words with the ominous sentence "…it was as if someone wanted these riots to happen."

In other silly news, I wrote three pages of next year‘s novel outline. Call me crazy, sure, but at least call me.

Rockland, ON – 12/11/2004 22:27 EST

13/11/2004: Saturday, Day 13 – 35,145 words – Good or bad, I can’t decide.

Good day for a weekday, bad day for a weekend. (I’m still running about 10,000 words behind where I should be at this point in the month) Bad day for "the usual" type of prose, good day for a particularly difficult series of chopped-up viewpoint and my own personal nemesis, The Love Scene. But all that’s over and done, now, and we’re even over the hump (har-har) of a particularly difficult set-up piece. (As well as some adjustments to the plot that will require to re-write more than a few earlier passages during editing.) Tomorrow, fortunately, we go back to explosions.

Rockland, ON – 13/11/2004 22:32 EST

14/11/2004: Sunday, Day 14 – 39,015 words – Limbo, everybody!

Is it worth hitting the panic button, or the "lazy writer!" button? Not sure, but hey -look at that-, my October reviews and site statistics are up. And I’ve read the third Harry Potter. And the house is in good shape. And the story is just about to feature some more explosions.

I jest, but things are on the thin line between okay and bad. Part of it is normal: this is the dreaded "week two" NaNoWriMo slump, I’ve been making steady 3000+ words progress for a week now (about only 6000 words behind, now), I’m deliberately padding the story as to be sure to attain the 100,000 words goal and I’m making excellent progress updating the outline of the script into something that withstands scrutiny.

In fact, I’m still a bit awed at how many balls I’m throwing up in the air that are completely new to this iteration of the story. A number of new characters have been introduced and their relationships are a lot more complicated than previously. (And that’s not even talking about the romance, which even I can stomach this time around.) Should I get squished by a bus before the end of the month, Mr. Marshall and Monk are going to remain in story limbo forever… because they’re just not in the script. I’m also surprised at how I’ve been able to integrate, quite naturally, a fair amount of modern-day political knowledge in a story taking place decades in the future. I’m not sure how much of the stuff will survive editing, but sharp-eyed viewers will have a giggle or two at the inside jokes here and there. Note to self; presidential leaders are what you want in the real world, but stupid leaders are great for fiction.

Rockland, ON – 14/11/2004 23:10 EST

15/11/2004: Monday, Day 15 – 43,031 words – Onward, damnit! Onward!

Oooh, that one hurt. I thought I couldn’t do it. I though I was wiped out after the terse and technically difficult action scene. I thought I’d stop right there, at barely 2,000 words for the day.

But I chained myself to the computer, made a lot of stuff up, came up with a few half-good scenes and just kept writing past my bedtime. The result is a good, solid and satisfying 4,000 words. (And that’s on top of another non-novel 2,500 words written earlier today.) I have beaten back my words-behind count to under 7,000 and I’ve moved on to Part Three of the novel. Unfortunately, I now feel like a pulped lemon.

Rockland, ON – 15/11/2004 22:57 EST

16/11/2004: Tuesday, Day 16 – 46,011 words – Saw SAW, wrote wrote, sleep sleep.

It strikes me that in two-and-a-half years of NaNoWriMo, I have streamlined my entire process to a fine point, except for the detail of how to deal with seeing a film and writing three thousand words on the sa
me night. More on that later, when I’m rested. Tomorrow, we blast that 50Kword straight out to Mars.

Rockland, ON – 16/11/2004 23:08 EST

17/11/2004: Wednesday, Day 17 – 50,002 words – Garglzzz.

I have things to say about sleep, weight, plot development, sheer obstinacy, neat scenes, characters, beating the 4,000-words daily goal, beating the 50,000-words NaNoWriMo goal, beating the 100-pages count, making it to Mars and all sorts of other things. But as you can guess, I’m just too trashed to care. See you tomorrow. Damn, I look good in NaNoWriMo green.

In the meantime, reflect on the fact that the 50,002nd word of the novel so far is the very first mention of the word "antimatter", and that’s because I’m too tired to go back and delete two useless words. Why yes, it’s an important word in the context of the novel.

Rockland, ON – 17/11/2004 22:59 EST

18/11/2004: Thursday, Day 18 – 53,556 words – Good (Bad) Good.

Good news: Easy day today, with 3,500 words in two hours and a half, leaving me a little bit of time for blog writing and (hopefully) more sleep. Amazingly enough, I’m currently still not too trashed from short nights so far, though you can only last so long on this type of regime.

Bad news: A lot of what I wrote today is repetitive trash, even though I’m proud of one or two moments. Sooner of later, I’ll have to stop padding (I’ve spent the last three days writing "in between" two scenes of the screenplay, adding extra incidents in the plotline) and start moving toward the conclusion once more. Sadly, today’s (novel) scenes have made a bunch of subsequent (outlined) scenes impossible. I’ll have to deal with that at some point.

Good news once more: I have time to discuss issues I let go over the past few days. M’kay, let’s see…

  • Sleep and weight: Amusingly enough, a news item yesterday linked sleep and weight by saying that regular sleep generates chemicals that help in controling appetite. That’s (not so) funny given the lack of sleep and uptake in weight I’ve seen since the beginning of the month.
  • My current novel is so far beyond the script I’m using as an outline it’s scarcely recognizable. The political complexity of the thing is almost bigger than what can fit in my head: for a story that seemed "too simple" at first, I’m going to have a truly hard time pulling all the strings together later on. But there’s a plan, and at least that’s that.
  • Sheer obstinacy will take you through anything, even impossible deadlines.
  • Character development is starting to scare me: I’m always amazed at how writing prose about a character will force you to hook traits that are intended to liven up a scene, but end up forming a part of the character’s latter personality. Compared to my outline, my characters are generally far more liable to hate each other, be incorrigible louts, scream at other people and have very unsavory personal goals. Why? Because it’s good drama. I’ve discussed my "brand new" president above; I don’t think he would have been half as interesting had a Democrat made it in the White House on November Second. Small rewards, I know…
  • I’m getting closer and closer (if only by a couple hundred words per day) to where I’m supposed to be on my quest for the 100,000 words. One good day this weekend could do wonders in this matter.
  • Well, well, well; I’m now the 11th writer in Canada on the NaNoWriMo word-count board. A lot of people stopped at 50,000…
  • Current song I’m playing all the time in Winamp: Bobby Lewis – Tossin’ And Turnin’: "I couldn’t sleep at all last night… Jumped out of bed/Turned on the light…" Classic!
  • A special shout-out goes to my caterers this month, without whom I’d be in even bigger trouble. Siblings rock, and now that I’ve uploaded this confession to the world-wide web, there’s no way to recant it.

Rockland, ON – 18/11/2004 22:14 EST

19/11/2004: Friday, Day 19 – 55,147 words – AFTER THE SUNSET, the Novel.

–What happen?
–Someone set us up the rzzzzzzz…

Rockland, ON – 19/11/2004 22:27 EST

20/11/2004: Saturday, Day 20 – 63,056 words – Now we’re cooking.

Chain yourself to a computer for a few hours and good things are likely to happen. At least that’s the case for me; your mileage may vary. Such as today’s wonderful word-count, a rested and steady progress that more than made up for yesterday’s fatigue-fueled crash. Among other highlights, today’s material included not one, but two romantic scenes about which I’m not particularly ashamed. And a new character who’s going to be fun to retro-insert earlier in the novel during the editing phase. Today’s word-count is the best of the month, and the word-debt on my way to 100,000 is now less than four thousand. Tomorrow? We’ll see.

Signs that you’re participating in NaNoWriMo:

  • At an office meeting, you start scrambling for a piece of paper and a pen to jot down a fabulous idea you just had. When other participants assume it’s work-related, you have to assure them it’s completely off-topic.
  • You start cackling alone in bed late at night because you’ve just figured out how to solve a particularly vexing plot hole.

Rockland, ON – 20/11/2004 22:38 EST

21/11/2004: Sunday, Day 21 – 70,087 words – Oh, what a weekend.

More obstinacy, more chains keeping me at the computer, and a highly satisfying total word-count. I’m now (slightly, finally) above where I should be at this point. Hurrah.

On the flip side, I find myself a bit stumped as to where to go next. As suggested above, I go through my old script-outline page per page, with only a vague memory of what happened (and vastly different arcs now). So late today I turn the page and find… that one of my characters dies. Huh?! Wait a minute… So I’ll end a bit early to chew on that. Dishes await anyway.

More signs that you’re participating in NaNoWriMo:

  • Struck my inspiration late at night, you turn on the light, grab the terrestrial globe next to the bed (yes, yes…) study it and go "Damn! China can’t have a space elevator!" Then you go "But Indonesia and Brazil can…"

Rockland, ON – 21/11/2004 21:22 EST

22/11/2004: Monday, Day 22 – 73,564 words – Monday, bloody monday.

Monday. Easy day, surprisingly enough. I’m now getting into the mindset that I really have to stop padding, otherwise I’ll run out of time before I run out of story.

Signs that your story is getting too twisted:

  • To solve a plot hole, you have a protagonist take out a contract on the life of another protagonist.

Rockland, ON – 22/11/2004 22:20 EST

23/11/2004: Tuesday, Day 23 – 77,008 words – There’s got to be a hard one once in a while.

It boggles the mind to call a 3,500-word day "difficult", but it was. Inspiration: Low. Quality of writing: Bad. Outline: Shredded. Bed: Soon.

Rockland, ON – 23/11/2004 22:26 EST

24/11/2004: Wednesday, Day 24 – 80,844 words – Meh. Onward.

Time to wrap this thing up. A few plot points got hit today, with a new character thrown in the mix for fun and viewpoint benefits. The Big Humongous End Space Battle is yet to come, so I’m feeling confident about that big 100K, and probably in time for the weekend. (Good thing too, given my three other deadlines.)

Rockland, ON – 24/11/2004 22:32 EST

25/11/2004: Thursday, Day 25 – 84,026 words – Dramatic Relief.< /strong>

Started out slow and uncertain, but everything started going along smoothly soon afterward. As mentioned over and over above, I’m now working without an outline, and I was highly gratified to see that two or three of the balls I threw up in the air collided with a satisfying THUNK today, boding well for the rest of the conclusion. It’s a huge relief to think that some of the seat-of-the-pants stuff is going to make sense at the end. Oh, and in other news I sent out 6,000 words of other writing to real publishing outlets today. Can you sense that I’m feeling both exhausted and chippy?

Oh yeah: Only one shopping month left before Christmas. Cripes, one benefit of doing NaNoWriMo is that you can justify not paying attention to this stuff until after the December 1st hangover.

Rockland, ON – 25/11/2004 22:02 EST

26/11/2004: Friday, Day 26 – 87,016 words – Last minute stocking stuffing.

Tough day, tough writing session. Started late for no reason, ended late via lack of inspiration. At least all of my pieces are pretty much in position for the last sprint. It could very well all end this weekend, you know.

Rockland, ON – 26/11/2004 23:14 EST

27/11/2004: Saturday, Day 27 – 93,701 words – Last stretch.

The resultats are uninspired, but I do believe that, at most, only the epilogue will be left to write tomorrow night. Other comments are beyond me at this point: I just want it to be over.

Rockland, ON – 27/11/2004 21:54 EST

28/11/2004: Sunday, Day 28 – 101,069 words – Aaand weee’re (aaalmost) dooone!

As promised, it’s all over but for the epilogue and some wrapping up. Whew! Now I’ll have time for the movies I’m supposed to see in time to wrap my quarterly column! Interestingly enough, I hit my 100,000th word at the bottom of page 200. More details tomorrow as I really truly write THE END on this sucker.

Rockland, ON – 28/11/2004 21:57 EST

29/11/2004: Monday, Day 29 – 101,949 words – NATIONAL TREASURE Writing Month.

All done save for the spell-check. Squeezed out a conclusion and a useless epilogue tonight. At least FIN has been written, though it would be really nice to find a way to find an extra fifty-one words for the big 102,000 words. Spell-check tomorrow, and then it’s done.

Rockland, ON – 29/11/2004 21:31 EST

30/11/2004: Tuesday, Day 30 – 102,026 words – As ALEXANDER might have said, "I saw the calendar, I sat down, I wrote"

Well look at that: While spell-checking, I managed to find some seventy-odd words, mostly by fighting my usual tic of making up compound words with hyphens. Remove the hyphen and -presto!- two words.

So, what have we learned this month? Here’s a quick overview of NaNoWriMo 2004 as can be processed at this point by my tired little brain:

  • All of last year’s lessons are still valid. Compelling characters are essential at keeping up my interest in the story, discipline is important, sleep matters and "we’ll fix it in post" works really well as shutting up the inner editor.
  • Despite managing a good job at making it up as I went along (and then catching the pieces as they fell down), I vow to never do this again without an outline. A very complete outline, even. I’m serious.
  • The biggest mistake of my attempt this time around (aside from not working from a good outline) was being very lax about the minimal daily word-count at the beginning of the month. This created quite a discouraging deficit by mid-month.
  • The first draft of the story (as a screenplay) was written during the 1995 Quebec Separation referendum. This one was mostly written after the 2004 electoral validation of the Bush administration. All told, the novel ended up being a great way to channel some post-electoral frustrations in a passive-aggressive way so beloved of intellectuals, writers and Canadians.
  • Things usually get better at the end of the month, and so they did this month too.
  • Work/Novel balance was difficult this time around: Due to several factors all colliding this month, I had to stay at work a while longer nearly one day out of four this month. Boo, work! Get out of my novel!
  • Despite the above, I’ve got most life/novel balance problems worked out at the exception of The Movie Problem: How to see movies and have enough time to crank out the daily word count. Being a movie critic doesn’t exactly help. Solutions will be found.
  • I seldom refer to quality this early in the process, but while spell-checking, I has to re-read bits and pieces of the unfinished product, and it didn’t look all that bad. Even the romance scenes were tolerable to write. Maybe there’s hope!
  • All NaNoWriMo writers should have meals catered in by their siblings. Unless your siblings can’t cook. Which isn’t the case here. Well, at one exception. (Fear carrot-based recipes, that’s all I’ll say.)
  • This, truly, is Still Being Fun.

Lest I forget, here are the biggest problems to solve during the upcoming editing phase:

  • Shake the characters: Rationalize the number of speaking parts. Strengthen the secondary characters. Beef up the protagonists. Combine redundant characters.
  • Fix the names: Remove the place-holder names, most of which are currently embarassing because they’re celebrities’ and friends’ names. (With particular apologies to the girls at the office)
  • Research the science: And that’ll take some time to do, including harmonizing shuttle travel times between locations.
  • Deepen the extrapolation: One of my goals for this novel was to deliver a true novel of futuristic anticipation. Didn’t work out this way, but at least the framework’s there: now let’s make this a real possible future.
  • Remove the padding: Yes, I admit that a few scenes ran long, in part for fear of not having enough words to make the big 100K. This being done (and my editing tendency being to add words rather than substract them), let’s cut.
  • These two editing maxims are well known from previous experience and still valid: Dramatize the exposition and internalize the characterization. Simple exposition-as-dialogue must be killed and replaced by demonstrations. Thoughts and feelings have to be inserted as internal monologues. Make the novel both more like a screenplay and more like a novel.
  • More locations: At times, this felt like a theater production with five standing sets, one for each group of characters. Let’s mix things up a little.
  • Redo the conclusion: Unlike last year, there aren’t any bits that I already know that I’ll throw out first thing during editing. But that wrapping-up and epilogue, though… ew. Better filmed than read, better edited than submitted as-is.
  • Follow-up on the promises, lead-up to the payoffs : One significant irritant was dropped mid-way through. One significant secondary character was added mid-way through. The political structure I was playing with kept refining itself as I was writing the novel. Promises were made, payoffs were inserted, but all still has to be straightened up. This is normal, but if the novel escapes into the wild like this, readers will kill me.

And finally, a smattering of numbers:

  • Created: November 1, 2004, 19:00:00
  • Modified: November 30, 2004, 22:07:00
  • Revision number: 96
  • Total editing time: 5730 minutes (95.5 hours)
  • Pages: 205
  • Paragraphs: 3806
  • Lines: 9481
  • Words: 102,026
  • Characters: 5
  • Characters (with spaces): 649,506

With this, we close the book on this novel, and let a long sigh of satisfaction. Tune in tomorrow for a preview of next year‘s novel.

Rockland, ON – 30/11/2004 23:31 EST

01/12/2004: Wednesday, Day -334 – 0 words – Novel #4 trailer

With a perfectly ironic timeliness, Ottawa woke up under a blanket of snow today. (And got rid of a certain president.) Meanwhile, I progressively took back control of my life, spending time loafing in bookstores (hey, ’twas also payday), goofing off at home and waving a finished manuscript around.

All done until the editing start, but not now. On the other hand, I’ve got a good grasp (already) on 2005’s NaNoWriMo project. It will be a contemporary thriller set in Ottawa, exploiting the area’s sights and resources from politicians to national parks. It will start as an investigation into the murder of an American diplomat and lead… well, that would be telling. It will thematically revolve around Canada/US relations (a hot topic these days), empire-building, the war on terrorism and a pretty nasty plot against the US. It will be titled, I think, Pax Americana.

See you next year.

Rockland, ON – 01/12/2004 21:19 EST

This year’s ranking (in number of words): 44th overall (out of 44,000 participants and 6,000 winners), 6th in Canada. Not that it counts for much, really.


Last Updated:
December 2004

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