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How Nanowrimo made me a 200k writer

Last night, at 1 am, I decided I'd do Nanowrimo to finish (or at least mostly finish) the first book in my Insomnium series - Dream Catcher.

I first did Nanowrimo in 2005, so I was about 14 years old. At that point in time, I was writing a fantasy series called 'Lady Avarei.' I didn't 'win' Nanowrimo. In fact, I only made it to about 10,000 words, but I was super thrilled anyway. Before that I could never write anything over 5000ish words. The little terrible stories I wrote in the 6th and 7th grade, dusting away in the back of my closet back home, don't count (trust me, they're that terrible. I was what?..11, and I wrote those things in a week in pencil).

Learning that I actually could write over 5000 words inspired me to put Lady Avarei on the backburner and start on a new story. In the 8th grade, I called it 'Corpse Eater' because I was tired of the oversaturation of supernatural stories about vampires. There were so many other creatures that could be explored, like the corpse eater.That first draft was almost 200,000 words. 200,000 words, effortlessly written for fun! I couldn't have done it without Nanowrimo (though that's not a healthy word count either. Trust me, with each draft that word count lessens by about 10,000-20,000 words, but it's better to have more than less).

Freshman year, the story became 'The Awakening,' since I realized I was going to make the story about more than just corpse eaters. Now it's called 'Savior of the Damned,' the first book in the 'Danse Macabre' series, and that's the name it'll keep as far as I'm concerned.

I never actually thought I'd do Nanowrimo again. Since I'd spent the last five or so years of my life only working on Savior of the Damned, I didn't feel the need to spend a month writing anything else. I was only editing and rewriting the same tale. When I was 16, I did update my Nanowrimo profile under the impression that I would, in fact, try to finish some of my fanfiction. I didn't, of course. 16 was a terrible terrible age for me. I was too busy living and almost failing at life to think about nanowrimo. Plus, I needed to come to terms with the fact that I was done with fanfiction.

It's different this time. I'm 19; life is really flipping stressful, but I'm hopeful; writing IS my life. Plus, I have an idea for something new, something that quickens my heart beat and makes me smile with excitement every time I think about writing it. The two new characters, Lotti and Joachim, are begging to be written.  I can't wait to explore the nightmares, based loosely off of my own, that Joachim cures. I can't wait to show Lotti's development as a witch. And I can't wait to write about their lives separate from their supernatural explorations.

Of course, I get this same level of excitement with Savior of the Damned. Last night I finished typing chapter 3 and wrote two pages of chapter 4. I'm really excited because the Big Bad is about to make his appearance, and Alecia's life is about to fall apart in the span of half an hour. Finally! It's when a character's life starts to fall apart quicker than they can process it that a story takes off. Let the horrors and adventures begin! I've rode this rollercoaster over 12 times, but I'm still excited to ride it again. Also, I love rollercoasters.

I've been writing with the two songs below on repeat pretty often. Oh yes, I'm very weird, but this is the type of stuff that inspires my muse to go wild.

5 Responses
  1. Interesting tale and impressive that you wrote 200,000 words! Good luck with Nano this year. As soon as Nano allows for friends, I'll add you to my Writing Buddy list.

  2. Tiffany Says:

    Thanks so much for commenting! I don't get many comments here. Also, that would be wonderful. When I first did Nanowrimo, I really didn't take advantage of the buddy system, though I very much enjoyed the forums.

  3. Rhemalda Says:

    Congratulations on your writing accomplishments. I am happy that you are still finding time to write even with a hectic school schedule.

  4. By the way, your music selections are the absolute best! I still have Majora's Mask for my N64...one of my favs.

  5. Tiffany Says:

    Rhemalda: Thank you! Without writing, I don't think I'd be able to cope at all. Writing holds me together.

    David: Wow, that's awesome. I had the game on my Gamecube, but I sucked really bad at it as a kid and never played it because the moon scared me. I'm going through a big Legend of Zelda phase right now. I love the music.