National Terrible Unfinished Novel-Writing Month: Day 8

Status Report:

Boy, I was all revved up this morning. I was right in the middle of cutting up a slice of leftover pizza into appropriately-sized chunks for an omelette filling, when inspiration struck me: I think I have half a Slim Jim left, back in the car. I should put that in the omelette as well.

And I don’t know whether it was the carbs or the protein or the salt or the preservatives or just the simple careless disregard for future consequences that caused things to start the gears turning, but by the time I finished my breakfast, I had my whole National Terrible Unfinished Novel-Writing Month Novel clearly fixed in my mind.

No kidding. I’d just been sort of making it all up as I go. But I suddenly had the entire arc of the story, beat for beat, from beginning to end. I’d figured out all of the plot’s intricate feints. I knew the purposes of all of the characters that I’d already written, and I learned the identities of all of the characters who had been standing just offstage the whole time, awaiting their cues. I even had two or three major turning points all laid out, practically line for line.

And it was all pure Tabasco. I couldn’t wait to get to my keyboard and write it all down.

I opened the Word document and as usual, I sort of reflexively glanced at that little tile at the bottom of the editing window. I noticed that my word count stood at 14,169, as of last night.

As you know, the goal of NaTeUnNoWiMo (like the goal of NaNoWiMo) is to write at least 50,000 words in thirty days. So I did a little math to see where I stood.

14.169/50,000 = about 28% completion.

Awesome; I was just 7 days into NaTeUnNoWiMo (23% of my allotted writing time) and wordwise, I was already 5% ahead of schedule. This 5% represented 2500 words, or more than a full “bonus” day.

Specifically, I need to hit 1667 words per day to hit the goal. So being 2500 words ahead translated to a projected novel completion time of just 28.5 days.

I kind of wanted to be a nice, round 28 days ahead by the end of the workday. That would mean doing a full days’ work plus another half-day’s worth, or (once again) 2500 words. If I reached that goal, I’d be at 16669 words by the end of the day. I’d be almost exactly 1/3 finished with my NaTeUnNoWiMo project. It comes out to 33.33338%, so I’d actually be a little bit ahead. If I wanted to hit it the 1/3 mark exactly, the target would be 16,667 words total, or 2498 words for the day.

Which naturally would have impacted the “get a full two workdays ahead of schedule” target. The two-word shortfall represents .08% of a workday; that represents .0192 hours, or 1.152 seconds (based on a 24 hour workday). Realistically, if I planned on a full 8-hour day, that actually meant I’d have to knock off work .384 seconds early to be exactly a third of the way through my NaTeUnNoWiMo novel precisely by the time I closed up shop.

Unfortunately, by the time I finished doing all that math, I’d completely forgotten how the whole rest of the novel was supposed to go. Damn, damn, damn.

It wasn’t a total loss. I was completely stuck for ideas, so I had the barista character describe her date with the waitress in her MySpace blog. So that’s another couple of pages down.

I haven’t done the math on where that puts me on the schedule, but I’m guessing it’ll be pretty ugly.

Day 8. Words written: 712.