At 11:18 PM on November 30th I finished my novel ‘Orcs Vs. Wolves’! Yes, I reached the 50,000 word mark in the wee hours of the 29th, and kept writing, finishing off the story, adding some fine details, and making sure I had all the right conclusions worked in, hitting a final word count of 56,432. That was quite a marathon!
Actually most of my work the past couple of days was editing, but I started editing so late in the process that I had to do a lot all at once to catch up. Another lesson I’m taking with me into next year – to not start editing any later than the 16th. Allowing the rough draft to reach a certain point before heavy editing makes sense, cuz it often takes that long into the story to make all your decisions firm as to what certain things are called, who is where at what time and so on. So starting editing too soon can potentially be a problem if a lot of things have to be switched around still. But waiting until the the last week as I did this time around is just too much of a sprint.
Another thing I’m gonna try and remember is to start my inspirational intake as early as September next time, if it’s a big chunk of material I plan to watch/play. I found this time that there was so much potentially inspirational material to go through that even into November I still hadn’t gone through all of it.
I also need to distinguish between material that is useful only for the inspiration of ideas, and material that is also mood-setting. For this project I would have considered films like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Two Towers, and The Battle of Five Armies to be mood-setting as well as inspirational. Films that could be rewatched during November just to keep me in the right headspace. And also I need at least one game, which in the case of this year was Fallout 4, playing as an orc(like) character trying to modify his gear using junk he finds in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Another thing I had to do on this last day was spellcheck. Do you know how awkward it is to do spellcheck when you’ve made up so many of the words? I spent a lot of time just telling my computer to ‘add’ words to its vocabulary. It might as well get used to it!
The last couple of hours was spent fitting in fine details to some scenes, adding a bit of context to things I felt lacked it, and rethinking one or two chapter headings. (I went in a weird direction with the chapter headings).
I also had to google a lot of violent and disturbing stuff in a short period of time, like “how long can a person survive without” some probably vital organ, and how fast can certain guns fire? Final battle scenes can get intense!
I noticed something interesting as well, which is that this story ended up having roughly the same number of words as Vampires Vs. Dragons, the project I did last year. And when I was deciding how long to make the story, I used VVD’s build of roughly 6 action scenes to estimate overall length, and used the same formula for ‘Orcs Vs. Wolves.’ So based on that, I can roughly estimate that future projects will end up with similar word counts if I use the same system, in which case I might have to plan to do a bit more per day. Or otherwise shorten the length of the final battle, but who wants to do that?
So how long before it’s published?
Well, Vampires Vs. Dragons was published in January of this year, so based on nothing other than that I would say Janruary 2021? There is a bit of work to do as far as having at least one reader go through it just to make sure I haven’t said anything incredibly offensive (which seems more likely this time around given the majority of the cast) and I gotta put together cover art and reformat the manuscript to make it suitable for publishing. I like my projects to be double-spaced when I’m working on them, but single-spaced is better in print because it saves on paper, which is better for the environment and also lowers the cost. I’d like to have it out before the end of the year, but we’ll see. I’ll certainly keep you guys posted.
Speaking of which, thank you for going on this journey with me! I’ve noticed a few recurring names liking these NaNo posts and I appreciate the support. I hope my talking about this experience has been helpful in some way to somebody out there. Thanks, guys 🙂