Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NaNo Update

Hey kids!

Sorry I've been out of pocket for almost the last two weeks.  I'm not really sure what happened.  I guess I used to compose blogposts at work and things have been getting hectic.

So it probably seems a little late now, but here's a little check-in on my NaNoWriMo this year.  I did, indeed, win, as I have every year since I started in 2009.  For those of you interested in my statistics, here they are:

And in graphic form:

Now for a brief analysis as I do every year as well.  As you can see, I started the month just barely squeaking by.  I normally like to get a solid buffer in the first few days, ideally after midnight Halloween night when possible.  That didn't happen this year.  Around November 5 I did finally begin logging a little extra each day.  The biggest spike came on November 18, the first Friday for some reason that I really managed to sit down and pound out a couple of writing sessions.  I had intended to do that every day of every weekend before that, but as you can see I couldn't get it to really click until the 18th.  I stayed way over expectation up until I hit 48,500 words on the 24th.  That was the weekend I was at Chessiecon in Baltimore, and then went home to Philadelphia the Monday and Tuesday after.  So Friday the 25th I did just a few hundred words before heading to the con, then it's a flat line for the con, where I wrote nothing.  I pounded out a few hundred words when I got home Tuesday, then finished the project Tuesday evening, with one day to spare.  So, not exactly a banner NaNo, but a win's a win.

Since NaNo loosened up their strictures and allowed that 50,000 words of writing counts as a win even if it's on multiple projects, I've been enjoying the process a little more.  Do you ever get sick of working on that one project and start another?  There used to be no room for that in NaNo.  Now that there is, it's a bit freeing.

So this year I was working on SLASHVIVOR! which is a contracted manuscript I owe to Sinister Grin Press in February.  I somehow suckered our good friend Stevie Kopas into collaborating with me.  But I knew that since we were batting it back and forth, there was no way I was going to get 50,000 words done on it in a month.  I did get a solid 15-20,000 done on it, and we are so close to the finish line I can taste it.

My backup manuscript this year was the sequel to THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, tentatively titled NOTES FROM THE UNDEAD.  I've now worked on NFtU for three solid NaNos: 2012, 2014, and 2016.  I've already winnowed out two short stories from this, "The Man With Four Scars" which appeared in AT HELL'S GATES II, and "The New Dark Ages" which appeared in FAT ZOMBIE.  I also did something this year I've never done before: edited out large chunks of the text as I went.  More than once I wrote a solid thousand words, chucked it into my tally document, and started over.  You're not supposed to edit during NaNo, but, surprisingly, I found that having that word count as a goal meant that major editing, as in, cutting out a huge chunk and starting over as I described, was actually beneficial.

Since I've worked on NFtU for three solid NaNos, you'd think it would be a monster of a document, and even bearing in mind how much I've sliced out, it still is.  And it's still not quite complete yet.  I'm thinking it'll take at least another thousand words to finish up one chapter I left hanging.  And then there's the question of whether there's enough ligament holding the story together, or whether I'll have to flesh (ha!) some of that out as well.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.  First my author edit, which I should put off for at least a month or six weeks, assuming I even do it then, then I'll probably pass it to my good friend Mike Lerman, who beta read TGA and who I've always intended to tap for this project as well, belated though it may be. 

I don't know if the story is going to be published at its current length (over 125,000 words even before the beefing up I just described.)  TGA was a solid 119,000 words, which is on the longish end of novels.  I'd like to cut at least ten thousand words out of NFtU, but I'm not sure there's enough fat to trim that much out organically in the editing process.  It may just turn out to be a doorstop of a book.  Time shall tell.

How about you?  How did your NaNo go this year?

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