The NaNo Diaries: I Broke The Rules

It’s time I made a confession.

Prepare yourself for something despicable. Because we all know how despicable I can be.

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I broke the rules of NaNo. Not just once. Many times.

I am a truly despicable human, I know.

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1. I rewrote the same scenes over and over. Some might call this editing, but that’s not what I mean.

I mean that if I didn’t like how a scene turned out the first time, I just wrote it all over again.

And counted both toward my wordcounts.

I do feel guilty about this.

2. I jumped around in the story instead of writing it in chronological order.

Not that this is an official rule or anything? I’m just assuming that this is what the rest of you did because it sounded like it based off of blog posts that I read.

Maybe I’m weird – let’s not be delusional; I am weird – but I get bored easily.

I did try to write chronologically, for the record. For the first week or two.

After that, I decided finishing was more important than proving to myself that I had an attention span slightly superior to that of the common squirrel.

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4. My daily wordcounts were just estimates because, as some of you know, I did NaNo by hand.

I have been accused of being an alien form of life. This may or may not be true. Let’s leave such things to the experts, shall we?

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A common estimate for how many handwritten words fit on a single sheet of paper is 300. And even though I think I can write closer to 400 words a page, I stuck with that because there were scenes when I was writing dialogue that ended up being less, or I wrote big, or I got sloppy. It happens.

Hopefully my wordcount was not too far off. And if it was inaccurate, I hope it was on the side of having written more than 50,000 words, not less.

5. I didn’t enter my whole book to officially win.

As aforementioned, I wrote it by hand.

So, needless to say, my poor little right ring finger was screaming in agony at the end of each day. My wrists were cramped. My hand ached.








There was no way I was going to attempt to get all those 50,000 words typed up into my computer just to make sure everything was legal.

6. I may have switched genres halfway through?

If it comforts you at all, this was as much of a surprise to me as to anyone.

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I’d known for a while that I was writing about the end of the world. It’s actually rather shocking how long it took for me to realize that…

Then it hit me – apocalytic fantasy falls under the category of urban fantasy. And here I’d been writing medieval!

See, I’ve had this picture in my head for the longest time. It’s of a barefoot, skinny-jean clad girl walking down slick shallow steps in darkness lit only by torchlight.

And no matter how hard I tried, this picture wouldn’t let me go. I had to write it.

But people don’t wear skinny jeans in the medieval ages.

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It was, indeed, a problem.

Now I can have both. My creepy tunnels and torchlight and candles and swords and horses and ruins and elegant dinner parties… And my machine guns and sniper rifles and skinny jeans and bombs and abandoned subway stations and rusting cars and wrecked trains.

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I am in love.

7. I wrote in a notebook instead of using my stack of recycled paper.

You are confused.

Allow me to explain.

I try to recycle paper whenever possible. Because I use a crazy amount of paper and paper ain’t cheap, my friends.

And, obviously, because when the Tree Apocalypse happens, I don’t want them coming after me. I am a sweet bean at heart and I do love the trees. I just also need them to write on.

The Tree Apocalypse is a real thing, in case you were wondering. It’s gonna happen.

Where was I going with this?

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Ah, yes. I wanted to recycle paper. But I found that I could write much faster and easier on nice, lined notebook paper. And so the stack of paper-to-be-reused sat in a sad heap shaking its fist and weeping and shouting things like, “You will regret this decision!”

It preyed upon my mind. It did.

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So, tell me – did you break any NaNo rules? Do you ever write by hand? Or do you, too, think I am an alien? Do you fear the Tree Apocalypse? Did you switch genres? Even a little bit? Did you write your novel in chronological order or did you jump around? 


8 thoughts on “The NaNo Diaries: I Broke The Rules”

  1. I might have… sorta…. maybe… started with a few words BEFORE Nano started…. to be honest.
    But in my defense, well I don’t really have a defense so…. But I was using Nano as a motivational tool instead of a crazy, ruin-my-month kinda thing…
    Anyway. Good luck with your writing!


  2. Jumping around is DEFINITELY NOT breaking the rules. That’s a common tool sooooo many writers use, even like, major professional published ones. I’m OCD and just have to write the scenes in order, but I kinda wish I wasn’t because I think jumping around and writing the scenes that inspire you at the time is an awesome idea!

    And I just…I can’t get over the fact that you WROTE IT ALL BY HAND. I would honestly feel like the queen of the world if I managed to write a whole BOOK by HAND in half a MONTH. Like… *collapses* I AM SO AMAZED. I think you EXTRA won by doing that! But your poor fingers! ACK. D:

    Your story just sounds more and more amazing the more I hear about it. Medieval fantasy is my love, but it IS kinda hard not being able to have modern conveniences and speech and stuff in a novel. So the fact that you have BOTH just sdjflsj;fljsd I AM IN LOVE TOOO!


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