Summing Up

A friend quite rightly pointed out that while I religiously updated my word count throughout NaNo 2010, I never wrote anything about how NaNo went this year.

NaNo 2010 was a blessing and disaster all rolled into one. This year, a friend I met through the Mana Bar was doing NaNo for the first time, and like all first-timers, she was keen. Being the anti-social kind of person that I am, I’d never participated in the events that the Municipal Leaders organised, despite being subscribed to their emails. Trinket was planning on attending the kick-off party (there was going to be freebies), and I decided to tag along – more to spend time with her than to meet my fellow NaNo’ers.

The KOP went fairly well, or as well as can really be expected for someone who is social malfunctioning meeting a bunch of complete strangers. On the promise that Trinket would be there as well, I also went to the first write-in. Write-ins are an interesting phenomena. A group of people meet in a common space with a collection of laptops and netbooks, and type a lot. There’s a fair amount of talking, as people go through cycles of working and taking breaks; and the ability to look up from your computer and say what is the commonly accepted plural of ibis? (true story), and actually get an answer, is great. Most people bring some sort of mp3 player and headphones, and putting your headphones on/in (earphones?) to concentrate is part of the social norm.

With the impetus of having other people around me, despite how distracting being able to hold a conversation is instead of working, I got a lot of writing done at all of the write-ins I attended. And I mostly kept attending them for that reason. Writing every single day is a chore, writing every day to a target is draining. By the time I hit about 30,000 words, I’m generally fed up with the whole idea. But knowing that I would write so well at the write-ins, I was happy to make a token effort most days, and bolster my words on Wednesday and Saturday.

As for the story, it’s tosh, but it’s better than the previous years. 2009’s effort, Blind, was a disaster of epic proportions, and I haven’t even opened the document again to see if it can be salvaged, because I’m simply so disappointed with it.

Last year I made another run up at the sequel to my novel Broken Wings. I’d made an attempt at writing a sequel before, but it had been short and uninspired. This version is also short, but it has many better ideas, and there’s potential there.

I still haven’t gone back to it. It’s pretty solid, it’s all in the right order, apart from some stuff at the start that needs to be cut before I knew what I wanted to write about. It really only needs to be moved into yWriter, broken into scenes, and re-written for quality. One day. Maybe after I finish Broken Wings.

Yeah right.

The other thing I’ve been working on is a competition called One Book, Many Brisbanes. Each year, Brisbane City Council holds this competition, soliciting short stories that are written by Queenslanders, and are set in our capital city. My mum put me on to this, because she was entering, and she challenged me to write something as well.

Being set in Brisbane, I already knew that I wanted my story to include the Mana Bar in some way. I threw out a couple of ideas, but in the end, a trip to the Mana Bar with friends game me an idea that was, IMO, quirky and fun. Hopefully quirky and fun enough that I get chosen as one of the 20 people to have their story published.

Just today, I was in the city lodging my entry over-the-counter at the Brisbane Square Library. I had saved my story and emailed it to my mum so she could print it for me, and we were going to take our entries over together. When I get there, she shows me my document, and there’s something wrong. To my (slightly exaggerated) horror, my copy is fractionally smaller than mum’s own story. For some reason, the document is printing at 11.5 pt, not the 12 pt Times New Roman specified in the terms and conditions.

Now, surely you wouldn’t be disqualified for making your font half a point smaller than requested, or for using 1.5 spacing instead of 2. But looking at my story next to mum’s, the difference is just so obvious. Now, this wouldn’t be an issue, but the version I emailed to Mum was a PDF. Without a PDF editor, I’m forced to borrow a computer at her workplace to cut and paste the text back into MSWord, resize the font, reformat the entire thing, put all the additional line breaks back in, add back in the footer.

So, I finally get the thing printed out, and I’m stapling the copies together. I notice that on the final page, there is a line break missing between two paragraphs! I look at it for a moment, and decide to leave it be. If my story isn’t going to win, it’s not going to be because there should have been an extra line break on one page.

So, my entry is in, and the winners are to be notified on the 3rd of February, so I’ll be waiting with baited breath for that. I really like what I wrote. I think it’s the second-best thing I’ve ever written, and the best isn’t finished, so it doesn’t even count.

So, that’s my sum up. I found this on the internet the other day, and it makes me laugh. I hope you enjoy:

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~ by ghostwolfe on January 5, 2011.

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