Friday, December 11, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015: Conclusion

I don't like to lose.

I am driven by competition. It explains the sheer number of board games I had growing up. It doesn't explain why I was terrible at sports.

It's what makes NaNoWriMo so useful to me year after year. I can say to myself, "I want to accomplish X by Y date," but if I stumble along the way, I'll usually sit down and give up because I feel like I've got nothing to lose. When I sit down for NaNo and see that I and thousands of others have 50k to write by November 30th, well then, bring on the words. I want that purple bar and the winners prizes that I never use anyway. In the past, that motivation's gotten me five half-finished novels. I was worried about this year though. You may recall my goal was just to finish two novels, no matter how short it left me.

So, the verdict?

Aww yiss. I was close on my guess for how many words were left in BoBD and TG. I finished the second one at 37,000. At that point, with only 13,000 left to write and still on schedule, well, why not keep going?

Starting goal: Finish The Business of Being Dead and Trickster's Gambit (estimated completion: 30k)
End point:
The Business of Being Dead - Finished 11/17 (NaNoWC: 29,466)
Trickster's Gambit - Finished 11/22 (NaNoWC: 37,160)
The Henchman, planned but unwritten short story - Finished 11/25 (NaNoWC: 42,524)
Queen of Bones - In Progress (NaNoWC: 52,372)

Two finished novels, one finished short story, and a third novel on the last scene. I can actually finish three novels this year. I still have to remove the excess and see what the final word counts are. At least one will probably end up in "novella" length. I'm sure I'm going to need a lot of buffing on all three. Plus I realized a lot of plotholes while finishing Trickster's Gambit that made my planned ending not work. But you know what? I still finished it. I wrote the planned ending knowing it didn't make sense. It was... freeing. All this time I thought I'd given myself permission to write badly, but I hadn't. I had permission to write bad sentences, but I had never let myself write bad scenes. That was my stopping block. I had to fix the plotholes RIGHT THEN NO CONTINUING UNTIL FIXED DO IT NOW. But I wouldn't know how to do it, so I'd give up. Or I was missing scenes I needed, but wasn't sure how to write, so I'd give up. Or I'd write myself into a corner and didn't know how to get out of it, so I'd give up.

This time, with my goal of finishing, I let myself back up and restart. I let myself continue knowing I'd have to cut what I was doing in the next draft. I made myself shove through it so I could write "The End" and mean it. And now I have almost three first drafts to clean up. It feels incredible. And terrifying. Very terrifying. I can't wait to get started.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Moments of the week: Florida and Alzheimers

Hello everyone! Are you still here? 'Cause I totally understand if you're not. It's been a few weeks. I don't even remember what my last post was. Hold on.

*goes back and rereads*

Okay. Wow, it's been longer than I thought. My bad. To say I've been extremely busy is an understatement. On top of NaNoWriMo (update on that to come), I had Thanksgiving traveling to two different states two weeks ago and a trip to Florida last weekend. Driving. Whee, 10-12 hours in a car. But I got to see old friends, make new ones, and have a fantastic time.

I also got to see my grandparents, which was difficult. My grandfather is 92 or 93 and in excellent health, but my grandmother... she's nearing 89 and has Alzheimers. Or something. Some kind of degenerative disease that's taken my grandmother away from me. They don't like doctors, so I don't think she has a diagnosis. All I know is that the woman I grew up with, the woman who loved nothing more than reminiscing, is mostly gone. She's still happy, still physically healthy, all giggles and smiles, but she didn't recognize me. It's the hardest thing in the world to sit down across from a woman who held you as a baby and have her say how nice it is to meet someone new.

But there's still something of her there. Grandpa and Dad insist that she's gone, but that's impossible. I know it's impossible, because while she babbled asking us if we were just looking in the neighborhood or were we moving in, when she said how nice it was to meet someone new, she hesitated. Like she knew something was wrong. She said we looked healthy, something she always worried about with me. And she kept saying how today was the best day in a long time. Maybe she says that every day, which would be nice. If every day can be the best day for her now. But I kind of hope it was because, somewhere, somehow, she knew her granddaughter had come to see her and was happy.

And then, just before we left, she looked at me. "I remember we used to play when you were little. Do you remember?" Then a smile. "Say hi to your mother for me." For just a moment, I think she remembered me. She knew who I was. She remembered me and Mom, her daughter-in-law. It was gone a moment later. Maybe it was just something in her mind running on autopilot because those were two things she always said to me, but that still means something in her mind recognized me. I broke down sobbing as we left the driveway. I hate goodbyes, but knowing that I will probably never see her again, that it's probably our last goodbye, it's the worst.

*honks nose*

Sorry. Emotions.


Other Moments in Florida:
The Altamonte Mall was busy, but we still made a stop by it. Lucky for me, because it was stuffed full of little moments.
  • A woman with a preteen daughter stepped onto an escalator going down. The girl hesitated, her face terrified, and stepped away while the woman went down. She noticed her daughter wasn't following after a few steps and turned to get back to her, but she couldn't climb against the stairs fast enough. Meanwhile, a woman perhaps in her late sixties came up behind the girl. She gave her a warm smile and said, "I'll go down with you, dear." she took the girl's hand and stepped onto the escalator with her. "Do you know how to get off when we get to the bottom?" the sixties woman asked. I couldn't hear the girl's answer, but when they reached the bottom, the girl was safely reunited with her mother, who thanked the stranger profusely.
  • A shaggy-haired man walking through Sears singing "Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me." 
  • Outside of the Santa photography area, a mother looked down at her son in his stroller and said, "How come you ain't scared of the Easter Bunny but you're scared of Santa?"
I'll be back in a bit with a NaNoWriMo update! Only, you know, ten days late...