Victory NaNo Get

Well, another season over, and another victory under my belt.  I think year was also the earliest I’ve ever finished.  Not that 7 pm on the last day is any big celebration, but at least I made it.  It was pretty questionable there for awhile.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve never been that far below par.  Granted, it wasn’t all that big of a deficit in the grand scheme of things… but to someone who never misses a daily par, missing a handful of them is pretty stressful.  I don’t think I would have forgiven myself had I managed to fail NaNo my first year as ML, and the one year I actually decide to pre-order a Winner’s shirt.  No idea how often I’ll ever wear it, but after three years I figure I deserve something from the store.  Besides, this year’s theme was legit.  I’m really glad they chose Video Game Graphics this year- especially after last year’s awkward Venn Diagram theme.  But… I digress.  I won.  Yay, me.

I also wrote the most words in the bonus round this year than I have in years past.  Again, 77 words is barely worth celebrating, but at least it happened, right?  Really, more important is that I’m happy with what I wrote.  Sure, it has issues… and I’ll definitely want to go back and polish a few areas to make a 0.5 draft before I actually let anyone else see it… but I really like this work.  I really want this one to be the first one I actually finish.  Somebody needs to hold me accountable.

My first NaNoNovel is an unsalvageable mess of plot holes, logical inconsistencies, and complete ineptitude in all of the authority figures on both sides of the morality spectrum.  But it’s my first novel, and that’s awesome.  My second NaNoNovel is… well, the premise is good.  I still think my protagonist would be better off calling the cops instead of being roped into an adventure, but at least I made attempts to close that plothole.  The problems come into play at the climax, where the characters suddenly have to go into action overdrive.  I’m terrible at writing that sort of stuff.  They spend most of the novel visiting places where the antagonist might have gone.  There’s even a lengthy scene where they go and buy an insurance policy, for crying out loud.  It could be polished, but the amount of work makes me cringe.

This one though… I love it.  And sure, a lot of that is going to be the post-NaNo rose-tinted glasses.  But this time around I did a really good job of pacing out the action scenes, so that the transition from talking to doing isn’t so ridiculous.  And the final scenes in the novel are set up in a way that they don’t have to do any actual hand-to-hand fighting, which is a plus.  Sure, there are definitely spots where I need to go back and foreshadow things that ended up happening, spots where I need to take out specific details that are unintentional red herrings because I ended up not using them, and characters who need to have earlier relevance now that they’ve somehow gotten a larger role in the end sequence.  But that’s all totally doable.  Stretching out the scenes that are sparse on detail?  Doable.  Cutting the pointless banter, or at least making sure it doesn’t create a pacing issue?  Doable.  It’s all totally doable, and that’s exciting.  This just may be the one.

So don’t let me ruin it.  I haven’t opened Scrivener since Saturday.  Use physical force, if necessary.  I’ll thank you for it later.  Maybe.

Neil Siemers grew up in Derby, Kansas, a comparatively small town south of Wichita. He moved to Lawrence to attend the University of Kansas, and hasn't left since. Neil likes to pretend that he is a big shot full time writer, although it's probably closer to a hobby. Either way, it's funded by a full-time job in the insurance industry, where he happily works as a cog in the machine for The Man so that bills can be paid.



  • Congrats on your win this year, Neil! And thanks for being such an amazing co-ML. You really picked up the slack I left hanging, and for that you have my forever gratitude, as well as the gratitude of the Lawrence region this year. At any rate, I have faith in your ability to make this novel that you love into something great; no way will you ruin it. Not even a chance. I look forward to reading it!

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