A late nanowrimo update

Technically, there’s still about 9┬ádays left (as I write this). That said, I have 600 words left to write to reach 50k, and probably about 10k to be done with the actual story.

I think my other writing attempts this year helped train me for this Nanowrimo. It was certainly much easier to hit my number this year. Part of that is no doubt because this year is special – no commute. For so many years before, I was driving for at least two hours a day. After we move to San Francisco next year, I’ll probably be back in the commuting game, which means less time for Nanowrimo. This year definitely had some temporal advantages in its favor.

It’s been more than that, though. The extra time helps, but so does the repeated practice at novel writing this year. Looking back over this year’s statistics, I follow a distinct pattern. Early on, I was hit or miss on word counts, but then I would hit a stride. My numbers weren’t always high, but they were pretty consistent. This Nanowrimo, that came in handy. I had a good idea of what I was writing, and I hit my stride pretty early on.

The sad thing is I don’t even know if I like the novel anymore. I realize that could just be writer’s apathy talking, but the more I practice writing novels this year, the less enamored I am with my writing, especially in the genres I love. There’s something stilted in my writing, a stiffness that I hadn’t expected to find there.

So what’s next? Well, first I want to finish this story. Nanowrimo or not, there’s more than 50k worth of story here, and I’d like to see that completed. I also have a few ideas floating around for something, well, not science-fiction, not epic fantasy.

Obligatory graphic:

Nanowrimo, day 9 check in

Just a quick update on the nanowrimo progress. Nine days in, still on target. I’m at just under 16k, which is right on track for finishing by about the 29th or 30th of the month. I have to say, so far this nanowrimo is going pretty smoothly. I think a lot of that has to do with the “practice” I’ve had this year. I may not write every day all the time, but I do go through streaks. Building up endurance during those streaks is paying off. I’ve been able to translate what I’ve learned from working on past novels into something useful this time around. Anywho, here’s the obligatory progress graphic:

More tools to consider as you prep for NanoWriMo

Yesterday I mentioned (for the umpteenth time) Scrivener – today, some alternatives. A lot of people put these lists together this time of the year, but stick around, you might find something new ­čÖé

Storyist (commercial) – The Literature and Latte folks do an amazing job at nurturing their community, which is part of the fervor folks feel around Scrivener. But lurking on the sidelines are the folks that bring you Storyist. With its latest release, Storyist is very similar to Scrivener in both price and features. How individual documents are handled is different, but other than that the two products are largely similar. Why mention it? Because Storyist does win in one aspect – it has an iOS app. If being able to seemlessly work on the iPad and desktop is important to you, then this is the way to go. The iOS app is missing only the ability to do split screen views between documents – everything else is the same. If you want to spend the money and┬áneed that bridge, this is the way to go.

Focuswriter (Free/Donation) – I always mention Focuswriter because I love it that much. Focuswriter can edit both vanilla text and ODF documents, has a robust wordcount management (great for NanoWriMo), a rich theming environment, and my favorite – optional typewriter noises as you type. Living somewhere between a text editor and a writing suite, Focuswriter is a favorite.

yWriter (Free/Donation) – If I were a windows user, I’d probably ┬ábe using yWriter. Another suite that tries to be more than just a simple document editor, Hayes has put some amazing effort and features into this software over the years. In particular, the metadata that helps shape your story – character indexes, location and item tracking, dynamic storyboards – are easily tracked and kept up to date, freeing you to write.

Plume Creator (Open Source) – As robust a product as Scrivener or Storyist, Plume brings a fresh combination of the commercial software with features I like in yWriter. It’s a little clunky, but that’s just eye candy. Beneath the surface you’ll find Plume to be a very capable alternative to the commercial writing suites.

And so, these are a few of my favorite things. Not your usual list of Evernote and Notepad, but software I think you’ll find works as a true alternative. When the day is done and you have to write, though, it doesn’t matter what software you use, or if you end up doing it all with pen and paper. The only thing that matters is that you have fun and get some words down. How you do it? Bah.