November was great – full of deadlines and stressful typing through the night. What am I talking about? NaNoWriMo, of course. It happens every year in the eleventh month (and sometimes in the summer months too) and the aim is to get creative and produce at least 50,000 words (yes, you read that right: fifty thousand) to create a novel. Within one month. That’s not even fair – I’m pretty sure that everyone who takes part has a life to get on with during those arduous thirty days. There is no time to write 50k words and succeed. At least, that’s what I thought until I won.
Yes, I won. It was my third attempt at NaNoWriMo, and definitely my finest. My first try at NaNoWriMo went well up until I hit 30k. I distinctly remember my laptop giving up on me then me giving up on my laptop and using that as an excuse for my lack of motivation and laziness. I actually had a plan that year (something about chess pieces, magic powers and a war) and stuck to it fairly well. Last year’s wasn’t so successful. I don’t think I even reached 10k, what a fail I was. Then we come to this year.
I convinced a friend to struggle through the month with me (they won too!) and soon realised that my vow to plan out my novel for this year (that I had made in August) had been broken. I decided to wing it completely and write whatever came into my head, hoping for a flash of inspiration each day. Anyway, I hit the 50k word count just after midday on the 30th of November. I think I danced around the house naked, but I can’t really remember.
The plot of my novel was awful – to be honest, saying that it has a plot is probably being too generous. Something about two people (Nox and a still unnamed girl) who lost their memories and have problems with certain limbs and their hairstyles (and names too, after I was criticised by many people about how corny the name ‘Nox’ is). So basically a novel full of rants, endless adjectives and adverbs, much dialogue and pretty much no action. It’s not completed yet, so there is still hope.
More to the point, the novel (currently named ‘Suppressed Memories’) included several creepy creatures that had tentacles, gnashing jaws and tufts of bloodstained fur. This was loosely based on a sketch I drew sometime last year on the front cover of a book. Since then, it has been scanned in and edited a couple of times. This was the first version; it has more details than the final one (which is at the top of the post).
I don’t know which version I prefer – I like how clean the final is, but I feel as if the first version is nicer to look at. I entered the final version into my local arts and crafts exhibition anyway, after deciding that the first version needed a bit of tidying up (which turned into a complete redraw). I won first prize in my age category, but that was because no one else entered (I had a table to myself).
The creature is the cause of the loss of one of my character’s arms. Metal teeth mixed with soft flesh wasn’t ever going to end well, I must admit. It wasn’t too gory, but such fun to write anyway. So there, that was my November: thirty days of hunching over my laptop, sacrificing my real life in an attempt to beat NaNoWriMo.