Jon Thysell

Father. Engineer. Retro games. Ukuleles. Nerd.

Tag: NaNoWriMo

Day 26 and I have won NaNoWriMo 2010!

National Novel Writing Month for 2010 is now official over for yours truly. So I may have passed the requisite 50,000 words back on November 12th, but today, I have finally finished my first draft of Hester and the Kookaburra King.

National Novel Writing Month 2010 Winner's Badge

My final official word-count was 100,227 words. Check out my NaNoWriMo user profile if you don’t believe me! Don’t worry, I’ll have a more nerdy breakdown of the month’s progress at the end of the month. I have lots and lots of data.

Time to go read something for a change.


NaNoWriMo half done, pushing past 50k

Yesterday marked the midpoint to the madness of National Novel Writing Month, which means you need to be at 25,000 words to be at par with completing on November 30th. Now of course, even though I already passed the magical 50,000 word threshold last Friday, I’ve still got plenty of writing ahead to finish the first draft of “Hester and the Kookaburra King”.

So where am I at now? I have completed 68 of the 110 scenes that I planned out in October, so roughly 62% of the story. I’m still tweeting my progress at @jonthysell, but here’s a quick chart:

Graph of progress by scene for the first 15 days writing Hester and the Kookaburra King

As you can see, so far I’ve been able to maintain pace and keep a decent buffer of scenes ahead of me. I’m very satisfied with my plan to write my outline last month, as it front-loaded a lot of the headaches of trying to decide where the story should go next. I haven’t had to worry about writing myself into holes, and overall it’s given me more time to just spill words onto the page.

More so, because I didn’t outline every single detail, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to modify the outline as necessary, without having to worry about upsetting the overall balance of the book. By outlining just the core plot elements that I need to drive the plot, I’m free to provide as much “flavor” to a scene as I want. So far, some of my favorite scenes only barely meet the outline’s bar, allowing things to happen that I never would have imagined last month.

Also, I’m finding that this year my preferred writing domain has changed. My first two years I wrote the most during my bus commute, listening to music blaring in my headphones. When I did write at home it was on my couch and coffee table, or if I was “serious” on my desktop. I even resorted to using tools like my PunishPad in order to boost my word count.

This year, even though I still write a little on the bus, or on my lunch break, I get the majority of my writing done at home sitting up in bed. When I’m out I listen to music just to drown out any distractions, but at home I prefer silence, and sometimes I even wear earplugs. I aim to hit the 1667 quota by 8:30pm, and then I’m under the covers, and until midnight I’ve got my head down in FocusWriter, tapping away.

Anyway, here’s 423 words that could have gone toward my novel. Better get back to writing!


One week of NaNoWriMo down

It’s been about a week since I once again joined the fast typing, never-say-delete madness that is National Novel Writing Month. As of this morning, I’ve completed 26 of the 110 scenes that I planned out in October. So by that metric I’m 24% complete with Hester and the Kookaburra King.

I’ve been tweeting my progress by scene count at @jonthysell, but for a treat this morning I threw together this quick chart:

Graph of progress by scene for the first week writing Hester and the Kookaburra King

I’ve gotten into some good flows over the past few days, but ultimately I can’t but feel like I’m always behind. I’m a notoriously slow typist, and though I’m confident I’ll hit the 50k and win NaNo, my real goal is to finish the book before the end of the month.

Anyway, back to writing!


NaNoWriMo 2010 begins in half an hour

NaNoWriMo 2010 begins for the west coast in less than half an hour, and I’m about as prepared as I’ll ever be.

I’ve spent that last week or so rereading Pawsgaard, taking copious notes, and fixing little typos here and there (no changes to the story, just minor editing). Those changes have been uploaded online as of a few minutes ago. There are a few things that have come up that will need to be reflected in my outline for this year’s novel, Hester and the Kookaburra King.

For reference, I have a 110 scene outline written out, of which I have 90% confidence (there is plenty of room for details to be fleshed out as I go, and a little room for rearranging should something turn out to just not make sense). It’s vague enough to be flexible, yet with enough plot structure that I won’t get too lost on my journey (a technique I’ve developed over the last couple years to improve my writing).

This year I’m again writing primarily on my ASUS 1000HA eeePC netbook, now running Ubuntu 10.10, with a new 32GB SSD, and a 14+ hour battery. If necessary I may do some work on my desktop, with its luscious twin 22″ 1080p displays.

FocusWriter is my text editor of choice, alongside the venerable gEdit for my outline, and TiddlyWiki for my world notes on Guineawick. I’m using Dropbox to keep my files in sync with my desktop, and will be relying on a series of backup systems to keep my data loss paranoia to a minimum.

Let the novel writing adventure begin again!


Countdown to NaNoWriMo, 3.5 days remaining

It’s getting down to the wire, the NaNoWriMo site now has an official countdown timer, and as of this post there’s little over three and a half days until go time.

I finished outlining this year’s novel: Hester and the Kookaburra King. It’s set in the Guineawick Tales universe, and takes place soon after the events of Pawsgaard. The current iteration of the outline is ~2500 words itself, divided into 110 scenes (100 primary, 10 secondary) that I think will easily push me over the 50k word mark come December.

Right now I’m in the process of re-reading Pawsgaard as “official Guineawick canon”, and making copious notes, so I can make sure that the new novel is consistent in style, feel, and continuity. I’m collecting everything from what kinds of tech is available, to character descriptions, to established history, all into a single wiki that I can reference and update as I expand the Guineawick Tales.

Tonight I’m attending a pre-nano meetup, lead by my girlfriend Anne,  with other wrimos here on the Eastside. No writing tonight, just getting to know one another before the write-ins next month, talking about our stories, our writing, and especially getting the newbies pumped up, their questions answered and their fears quashed.


P.S. Rereading Pawsgaard fresh after a long breaks means I’ve found a couple of ugly typos that I’ll have to fix and upload, though I’m sticking by the content of the story, as I’m never a fan of retconning.