I Miss My Novel

NaNoWriMo is officially over for another year, and I’m finally getting back to eating, sleeping, socializing blogging!

I had meant to do a weekly update on how my NaNo was going, but I quickly realized that my November was going to be more difficult and time consuming than I had anticipated. But if you’re following me on Twitter, hopefully you saw my daily word count updates!

If not, no worries, you can go check out my Twitter now, or just look at the graph on my NaNo profile: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/elizabeth_sabourin/novels/the-roles-we-play/stats. I really just want to talk about my experience with NaNo this year.

As I may or may not have mentioned in my previous post, I love the last two years of NaNo due, in part, to being sick. That was thankfully not an issue this time, although this was the first year I had to deal with working full time and only have one night off. My schedule extremely limited, I barely met my word count for the first week of NaNo:

Week two hit me hard. While on the plus side I got to attend my first and only write-in (and I mean like, my first write-in ever) I was swamped that weekend and fell way behind, a theme that carried into the next week…

Week three is widely considered the Worst Week of NaNo. I’ve never necessarily found this to be true for me, but this year it was. Aside from a rare 5k day, I wasn’t able to catch up from the madness of week two.

I started week four on the high from the 5k day, assuming I could continue that streak until I caught up. Things went downhill from there until I was steadily maintaining being 10k behind.

The final days were absolutely insane. I cancelled all social engagements (because, of all days, of course things were planned for the 29th and 30th) and spent every waking second at my computer. I still only managed to eke out a few thousand words a day, until I went into the 30th needing over eight thousand words.

The most I’d ever written in a single day was 7,891 words (several NaNos before) so I was about 99% sure I wouldn’t win. Not to mention the fact that I hadn’t slept enough and still had to go to work at some point.

So imagine my surprise when, through sprints on Twitter and amazing playlists put together through other participants, I managed to write 8,528 words (150 more than I needed) with a half hour to spare.

While that’s all really incredible and I still can’t believe that I won NaNo again, I want to spend a little bit of time talking about the story I wrote. Or half-wrote, I guess, since I only got about halfway through my outline.

For the first week or two, I really worried my story was going to turn into a farce on dystopian novels like the Hunger Games or Divergent, thankfully by week three it started to come into its own, developing its own world and issues. I’m actually really proud with what I have so far, even though it’s going to need a lot of editing to condense the first few chapters.

My main character, Jericho, finally found a personality near week four. I had hoped he would work out sooner, since the novel is from his point of view, but the experiences in the middle of the novel have really helped to flesh him out. The final scene I wrote was Jericho standing up to the oppressive, argumentative people around him. It’s my favorite scene yet.

So now here I sit, three days later, having done nothing particularly important or productive since NaNo ended, and feeling lost without the push to write. I actually really miss my novel, which I don’t think has ever happened to me before.

I will continue it. Probably before the week is through. I haven’t thrown out my chapter outline or removed all my writing notes from my desk just yet, so it should be pretty easy to get back into the swing of things. Maybe, if I’m very lucky, I can power through this first draft over the holidays.

I still have lots of other things to keep me busy, though. I’m returning to a writing competition in the next month or so, I’m planning on revamping my youtube channel to be another platform in which I can discuss my writing, and over the course of NaNo I developed ideas for five new novels!

I’ll be blogging about all of this stuff in the coming weeks. I’m still planning on keeping a weekly blogging schedule, unless something big comes up (like the holidays). But I just want to say a quick hello to anyone new who started following me during NaNo! I know I received some new Twitter followers due to my daily tweets, and I hope some of you have come from that.

Next week I’ll have some pretty big news regarding my old, completed NaNo novel, Spectrum.

Happy writing!


NaNoWriMo: A History

As some of you may know by now, if you know me in real life or follow me on Twitter, I am participating in National Novel Writing Month for the eighth year in a row.

For those that aren’t aware, every November a bunch of writers around the world spend the entire month building a novel toward the goal of fifty thousand words. For the Young Writers’ Program, used in schools and for children, the goal is whatever the individual wants it to be.

I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo for eight years now, completed it five times, and am pretty much obsessed with the idea of it.

This is going to be a little run-down of my history with NaNo, if anyone is interested. Also, all stories mentioned here will be added to the Books page if they’re not already.

Year One: 2009

Ghosts of Autumn, a paranormal story about a family of psychics. Despite being in the middle of a pretty rough year, I somehow managed to hit 50k and escape with my sanity.

Year Two: 2010

Deadline, a poorly-titled horror novel that (I was told by several people) sounded a lot like the Hunger Games, only with grim reapers. Having since read the Hunger Games, I agree.

I did finish Deadline, though I’m not proud of the amount of (totally allowed) word-padding I did to achieve the 50k. In the end it didn’t even matter. Two hours before midnight on the last day of NaNo, my computer crashed and I lost everything I’d written that day. Basically I wouldn’t have had enough time to rewrite everything. I had to copy and paste 50k from another project just to claim my certificate.

Year Three: 2011

Cold Vendetta, another horror novel. I was on a roll with the scary stuff, apparently. This was a vampire novel in the first of what is to become a series from the perspective of classic creatures (vampire, werewolf, zombie … can’t remember the fourth I had planned).

Year Four: 2012

Keeping the Faith, historical fiction. An idea that came from a Harry Potter fanfic I was writing. The story follows a girl throughout her life as she searches for her missing twin brother. I was confident with this story – I had more plot than I really needed to hit my goal – so I excelled. I hit sixty thousand.

Year Five: 2013

Spectrum: Book One, fantasy. Probably my favorite year, not for anything spectacular that happened during NaNo itself, but because the novel was such a huge success. I hit 5ok and went on to finish the novel on Halloween night of the following year.

I’m working on editing it right now, and looking for publication next year.

Year Six: 2014

Specrrum: Book Two, fantasy. The year I went downhill. Family crisis, getting sick, and lack of motivation all attributed to my failure to hit 50k.

Year Seven: 2015

When the Bucket Kicks Back, superheroes. See year six’s excuses for reasons why I failed this one too.

Year Eight: 2016

The Roles We Play, dystopian. I have plotted and planned like never before. I have character bios and family trees and (hopefully) enough plot to last me.

I am going to complete this year. Of course, as I write this I have 14 hours to go and an as yet unfinished chapter guide. Still, I’m optimistic. I know myself enough to know that despite an outrageous work schedule and my stress levels, I am going to do this. (This is going to look really back if I don’t wind up finishing.)

So anyway. Now you know what I’ll be up to for the next month.

As far as the blog goes, I wish I could say I’ll be doing daily updates here. I usually like to do daily videos on youtube, but I don’t really have time for youtube at the moment. So, yeah, if I have time and I’m not completely exhausted from work and writing, I’ll update daily. If not, I’ll at least do weekly posts.

If you want a more reliable account of my NaNo experience, follow me on Twitter or add me as a buddy on nanowrimo.org (Elizabeth_Sabourin)

Have a Happy Halloween!



Hey folks, thanks for checking out the new blog.

The site is still under construction (mostly the book page) but I don’t have the time to work on that at the moment because NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! More on that in a future post.

I’m going to aim for weekly blog posts, but it really depends on how my writing is going that week. This blog is going to be all about my writing or possibly other projects that pop up from time to time. Eventually, when I publish a novel or two, I’ll turn this into a proper dot-com. Until then, enjoy the fishy theme. 🙂