NaNoWriMo Rebel Winner

Image of typewriter keys and the words The Alternate NaNoWriMo.

The Alternate NaNoWriMo, as proposed by Cafe Aphra (

So, this year, inspired by the fabulous people at Cafe Aphra, I decided to do an Alternate NaNoWriMo.

To recap, NaNoWriMo’s official rules are:

  • Write one 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch.
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction.
  • Be the sole author of your novel.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.

And they encourage you to upload your novel to a spot on their web site for word-count validation near the end of the month.

Cafe Aphra’s Alternate was to set your own goal which would include writing every day for the month of November. The goal I set was: finish the first draft of my current novel-in-progress, The Trickster Entanglement, writing a minimum of 1000 words a day. I wasn’t sure how many words it would take to finish the novel. I felt as if I were about 3/4s of the way through the story at 75,000 words on October 30, when I was contemplating this, so 1000 words a day seemed perfect.

My lynx plushy seated at my laptop.

One wonders how I hit 105 wpm with those paws.

I set up an account at the NaNoWriMo site, and while doing so discovered the NaNo Rebel forums, which is an officially sanctioned way to do an alternate NaNoWriMo. So I joined there, too.

What I accomplished: I hit my 1000 word a day mininum on 25 days out of the month. The days I missed that goal all had good reasons:

  • one weekend where we had an incredible number of prior engagements plus an unexpected plumbing problem,
  • the day that both the new season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the 50th Anniversary Doctor Who special was also the day we were hosting a board of directors meeting for the literary society of which I am editor-in-chief,
  • the day before Thanksgiving we drove across the state after both working a full day,
  • Thanksgiving day itself spent with family, then driving back across the state in the evening to get home.

I got writing done on each of those days, but I fell short of the 1000 word goal by midnight. However, most of the 25 other days I exceeded my minimum by a healthy amount, so much so that my average words per day worked out to 1,952. Which means that I exceeded NaNoWriMo’ 50,000 words by a nice amount. My word count for November was 58,564.

The bad news is that I have not quite finished the first draft of the novel. I ended in the middle of what I believe is the penultimate chapter. I’ve nearly tied up the dramatic climax. Then I’ll need a chapter of denouement to wrap up remaining loose ends and hint at what will happen in book three (this book is a sequel to The Trickster Apocalypse, which is the first of a series I’ve plotted).

I wrote a rather large amount in the last couple days of the month, but I just couldn’t quite hit it.

When I crashed after midnight Saturday, I was still holding onto a delusion that I might be able to finish the first draft before the first working day of December. Then I woke up Sunday with a worse sinus headache than I have had in months. And I needed to do laundry, get some other housework done, and make at least a start at the Christmas decorations. I spent much of the day fighting the grumpies in between the various chores. We had to run to a store to handle two errands, and Michael talked me into stopping for a sit down dinner. The dinner didn’t help with the headache, but it had a significant impact on the grumpies.

Anyway, it’s obvious I need a day or two break from fiction writing, since this little blog post has taken hours.

Despite not quite finishing, I feel as if NaNoWriMo was a success. I had been hung up at essentially the same spot on the novel for months, and this pushed me well past that. The total word count for the not-quite-finished first draft is a bit over 133,000, which is a 40% increase in size over the first book. I already knew there were subplots to trim from the earlier parts of the book, so that number will probably go down a bit during revision. I didn’t pursue any of the subplots that I already identified to remove during the new scenes written during NaNoWriMo, and where the story is at feels good, so I’m quite confident those subplots need to go.

The other big success of this NaNoWriMo is that I recruited my Mom, who has been trying to find the motivation to write for a while. She set herself a lower goal than 50,000 words, but she wrote every day of the month, she hit her goal a few days before the end, and she continued writing after hitting her goal. So it was all good!

Kitten falling asleep on an Apply keyboard.

I need a nap!

I don’t want to lose momentum, so I will only allow myself a short break. Besides, in addition to finishing this first draft, I need to complete my annual Christmas Ghost Story in time for our party (in less than three weeks)!

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. For more than 20 years I edited and published an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

One response to “NaNoWriMo Rebel Winner”

  1. BrantleyNewton says :

    Congratulations! So many people became discouraged after not meeting goals from the official NaNoWriMo – reading their posts was upsetting and frustrating. It’s just a goal and it’s just a number. Creativity isn’t about winning…

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