The Ides of November, or NaNoWriMo-ing

We’re half way through the challenge, and the month, and I’m still alive… here’s the proof:

Me at the midpoint… still alive.

I have to say that taking four… ahem, actually five… days off for my anniversary helped… in spite of the fact that the foregoing advice is not to back away from your project for more than two days if you can help it.  I’m going to concur with that advice because even though I was happy to get back to work on the novel, it took some focused self-kicking-of-the-ass to get me going.

On the upside: I’ve crossed the 30,000 word mark… this time last year I was nearing the 40,000 word mark, but I was on a suicide run then… this time out, I’m on a more leisurely stroll.  I’m going to shoot for 40K by the end of the weekend, but that’s a very liberal goal — I’ll be solidly pleased if I make 35K, which I most assuredly will.

During my mini-vacay, aside from having a real blast with my wife and taking advantage of a long weekend with no pressing tasks or haranguing deadlines (except for the novel which was parked in the garage), I got to watch the latest installment of Story Board and boy did it hit home.  This episode was about role playing games and how they contribute to the development of the storytelling skills necessary to take on something ludicrous like writing a novel.  I was an avid D&D player in my younger years, and to support the theme of Patrick Rothfuss’ discussion I wholeheartedly agree that the years I spent running D&D campaigns and the years spent participating as a player had a direct correlation to my development as an aspiring fantasy writer… even though I still consider myself primarily a “hobby writer.”

This Story Board discussion began here:

If you’ve not watched this, and you’re not a big fan of good ol’ D&D, watch it anyway because likely one of your favorite fantasy authors is featured in the video; there’s Peter V. Brett, Brent Weeks, Elizabeth Bear, Jim C. Hines, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Saladin Ahmed, Myke Cole, and Scott Lynch — with Ahmed and Cole acting as co-Dungeon Masters.  If you are a fan of D&D, or you played sometime in your misspent youth, be prepared to get hit by the nostalgia train.  Ernest Cline‘s Ready Player One whet my appetite for D&D when I read it last year, but this shit made me want to roll up a character and find a game.  Alas, I don’t have time to play D&D… but it did get me thinking.  Watching Story Board later, and listening to Rothfuss, Brett, Cole, Ahmed, and Naomi Novik talk about their D&D experiences and the way it shaped their storytelling was both illuminating and entertaining.  I definitely have more to say about this, but I’ll hold it in reserve until after NaNoWriMo.

So, yeah… fourteen days (more like thirteen) left to go, and Thanksgiving is next week.  I’m fortunate to have a good support team, and there isn’t any reason I can think of (short of some unforeseen tragedy) that will prevent me from finishing with a more than adequate word count… it’s just a matter of buckling down and getting the words on the page.  The story is going well; surprisingly, it’s flowing a lot better than I expected.  It’s still a totally shitty first draft (all first drafts are shitty just by their basic nature) but it’s loaded with salvageable content which is a mighty fine thing.

No post next Friday due to Thanksgiving aftermath, but I’ll try and get something up on Saturday.  Cheers for now.

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