Ever since the beginning of the decade, I’ve been super into the idea of Nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month if you don’t know what that is… Though considering that there’s a 95% chance you’ve discovered this blog post via one of my many web stories, surely you already know what that is.
Well, it’s finally the end of Nanowrimo 2019, and it’s also the final one of the decade.
Throughout the decade, I have made, or at least planned, a whole bunch of different Nanowrimo attempts, the vast majority of them failing spectacularly due to various reasons. Let’s reflect on them:
- 2010 – “The Ultimate Piece of Fiction!” (or something like that) – in early high school, I got REALLY into TVTropes and the idea of me actually becoming an author of sorts, despite writing very little prose up to that point. But I decided months earlier that I wanted to write the longest work of fiction of all time, with way too many characters and constant “ninjas burst through the walls!” moments to keep the plot ever-moving. I can’t remember if it ever got further than that, but by November, I had completely forgotten about the project and had moved onto another webcomic idea (that never happened).
- 2011 – Didn’t exist. Too busy with Homestuck and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to do much creative work, let alone a novel in a month.
- 2012 – Beyond Nova Sparkles – My first completed Nanowrimo! Yay! Well, “completed” is a loose term when so much of the story was characters going insane and repeating the same words over and over for pages, or creating a gibberish language that was easy to copypaste. This one was interesting to me because it became a stealth short story collection for me; I wrote like eleven different stories and shoved them into this story to add to the wordcount, and it helped me get in the mood for short story writing, something I would continue for quite some time. (Also, the plot was in the POV of a sole electron for 1/3 of the story and I respect that a lot)
- 2013 – “Existentia Phantasticus” – This was my attempt at a brand-new fantasy world that didn’t just use the generic Tolkien/D&D-esque races and had cool mythological races from all over the world. It was going to be a short story collection set throughout a big timeline… But I only wrote about 10,000 words of one novella and then 3-4 flash fictions written on index cards. It probably will evolve into something else someday.
- 2014 – Didn’t exist. I don’t know why. Maybe I was too busy working on Sandswept or something?
- 2015 – Complex Visual Novel – Some internet friends of mine had been working on a “Homestuck Dating Sim” for quite some time, but the project was about dead by 2015. However, we had developed some really cool game mechanics and I wanted to test them out in a small, not too ambitious game all by myself! Then… I found out… that complicated visual novels are really hard to design and write by yourself, no matter the size… I still won, though! It was at the very last second, 51,000 words on November 30th, but I still won… and then promptly never picked up the project again. I’ll finish it in like 2025 or something.
- 2016 – “The Luminous” – A time loop drama that I got about 6,000 words into, then scrapped and started over, then got another 6,000 words into, then gave up on out of laziness because I was an exchange student in Nagoya and “wanted to spend time with friends.” Blah.
- 2017 – “Lesbian Swordfighters from Mars.” – I didn’t start this, and you will never find out what it was going to be about.
- 2018 – “Your Silver Garden.” – I was 1000% ready to knock this novel out of the damn park! But then a week before November, I got a call saying “hey wanna work in Japan but also you have to get all your paperwork done and move by the beginning of December?” This one honestly bummed me out, because I coulda done real good with it. This is another story that I will definitely come back to in a few years.
- 2019 – How I Became a Hero Without Leaving My Hometown! – My very first LitRPG, something I learned the hard way is NOT recommended for a Nanowrimo because of all of the annoying tasks you have to accomplish like organizing stats and quests and writing lots of “in-game” text. Did I win? Yes! I did! But it was only because I marathoned the last 15,000 words in one day!
The main thing I’ve noticed as a trend is that almost every year, I tried doing something fresh and new, something experimental or gimmicky, with my Nanowrimo, and put way more strain on myself than you’re ever supposed to with this challenge. From experimental POVs to entirely new mediums, I kept my ambitions way too high almost every single year.
That’s probably a good thing, though; at this point, writing 50,000 words in a month is not really a challenge for me. I’ve done it many times before, and the more I get into the web fiction scene with my upcoming stories, the more often I’ll keep doing it. Nanowrimo is supposed to be a fun and annoying challenge that forces you to write a project you otherwise wouldn’t get around to starting, and so I am glad I kept in that spirit… even if I didn’t win very often…