NaNoWriMo 2013 – How Well I Did?

NaNo winner 2013This year, for the third time, though not exactly in a row, I took part in NaNoWriMo. After I did it first in 2010, I have never stopped seeing myself as a fiction writer, although somewhat insecure at first.
Here is a summary of my achievements this time and an overview of how those stand next to past years’ achievements:

  • This year I managed to cover the 50k distance and did it even faster than before. I validated on the very last day, but the total pure writing time I took this November was maybe just two thirds of the two previous forays.
  • This year I finished my story. I did the same the second time, too. This year I finished the story on the very day when NaNoWriMo finished, and I actually validated a complete text. As a comparison, in 2011 I finished my story around Dec. 8th. As another comparison, the story I started in 2010 is not finished yet. I continued writing it for most of January, then had another go in July. It is still a mess.
  • This year, I edited my story. That is, I made a first edit. There must be lots of things to do more. But I will need an editor and a professional to tell me that. As far as I go, the story makes me happy. As a comparison, my 2011 novel never made it to an editing round. I read it 6 months after writing it, and bitterly regretted not doing even a rough editing.
  • This year, I took advantage of sponsors’ deals and bonus offers. I purchased Scrivener for half-price.
  • Since my story was complete, written and edited to some decency, I submitted it to the Writing Accelerator run by where I will get a free review. It may also happen to be one of ten novels to get really rewarded. We’ll see the results later
  •  I uploaded my novel on the Wattpad website where people may read it, comment on it, and vote. Not only popularizing it, the website will be drawing one lucky winner who will grab $2,000. Hoping that might be me. I tried to get a free book on Amazon, using their promo code, but it didn’t work the right way.
  • I sent my first chapter to the JukePop Serials, where novels are posted in series, so as to raise suspense in the readers. A couple of days later, I heard back from an editor there, that my text was accepted. I am again taking part in a competition, where the prize will be $500, to be distributed among the three serials that have collected the most +Votes by the end of the contest period.
  • I would really like to edit my 2010 novel and submit it to a YA Romance contest. We’ll see about that.

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Briefly of NaNoWriMo 2011

This year, I have been so busy that I have failed even my own blog updates. Only occasionally, I posted info in FB, which is the most hateful channel for doing that. Not even Twitter was honoured. Real shame! First of all, the latest news: I finished my novel! Then, here is my NaNoWriMo profile page to check I really won!

Here’s the sum up:

I started with some slowliness as early as the first couple of days. Given the fact that every Friday I go away and have (nearly) no chance to write while away, I was pretty put down at first. I even considered quitting. But, come on, would Adi let me do that? No chance. I don’t get it: doesn’t she have enough work of her own to deal with, that she reacts so fast when I mention quit or cancel? So, she twitted and Facebooked me into staying with NaNoWriMo. A great THANK YOU for that, Adi!

On my third week of NaNo-ing I arranged to meet a friend who lives abroad and was here for a couple of weeks only. Quite a lucky chance, she is a writer. I never expected conversation to drift that way, yet she asked “What am I reading in FB about something you write?” So, I told her and she said so many nice things that I feel too humble to share them here. She wanted to read, so I uploaded the unfinished and unedited (and full of many huge awful mistakes, weaknesses and discrepancies) version of my NaNo novel to Smashwords and sent her an invite to read it. I hoped against hopes that I hadn’t actually done that. Until, a couple of days later I received a message from her in FB saying that … OMG etc. which I cannot possibly share again (out of pure modesty).

Well, the fact is that Lily in the Moonlight is finished. I will edit it, which will not be too hard and maybe add a couple of scenes which I had forgotten, but that last thing is not sure. After I edit it, I will release it for sale. It’s a bit sad that it will appear before Orange of the First-Year Stars, but… Orange will be way too hard to finish and edit.

Well, that’s it. I am still three term papers behind, as it is. You know that I enrolled in a Master’s programme with Sofia University, right? I will tell you more of that some other time, or not…

NaNoWriMo 2011 – six weeks to go

This year, my participation in NaNoWriMo – the best event that happened to me last year, appears harder to occur. I seriously doubt I’ll be able to catch on as I have plans… not featuring novel writing. For that reason, and out of pure fear for my novelist future, I started planning early. It’s true, my first novel is not completed yet, the plot is not even halfway through and I reached a particular muddle of pages full of explanations, speculations, ruminations, and many more -ations of the mind, empty of dialogue and events. It reached the dull pace of my “normal” style. So, I decided I had best leave it aside to “ripen” (borrowed from Adi, she somehow manages to hit home very often using cute phrases :-)). After all, a half-novel is easier to finish than a new one is to begin. Besides, November coming, I start to get the NaNoWriMo fever and crave for new work to be done. Of course, the autumn mood is nearing me inescapably and that truly is getting to become my favourite time of the year – leaf-covered park lanes, warm sun that everybody loves and cherishes… That autumn mood, I hope, will come to help.

I have a title! Last time, I downloaded the NaNoWriMo winner Certificate and starting to fill it in, I suddenly realised that I have no title. So, there I was, fingertips slightly tapping the keyboard, eager to say something, but what? It took me a week perhaps to come up with the title I finally gave my first NaNo-novel, and I still feel unsure as to whether that has the best ring to it, in terms of MY title. So, this was to be a concern this year, as well. Without putting too much effort in it, I decided to think the matter over as often as possible, so that at the end of the challenge I might have a plausible one. And it came!

A week later, or so, another one came. Now I may have a sub-title, too. Just which one is to be the main title and which will be put after a comma? I haven’t made up my mind yet.

My title is: Lily in the Moonlight

© Mariya Koleva 2011


NaNo turned Not-Well turning Novel


Well, almost a month into the new year now, and nearly two full months after the official end of NaNoWriMo, here is where I am: my work originally started as a NaNoWriMo novel is going steady to its finish. Not the case for a long time, however.

Immediately after the NaNo pressure, my inspiration and motivation somewhat subsided, even though my husband pushed me to write “while it’s still fresh in your mind”, which, indeed, was a fair remark, since after a half-week pause I realised I had forgotten a great deal of the characters and their aims in the narrative. (Funny to imply they have any “aims”, as most of the time, or let me admit it – the best of times, my characters just do as they please and don’t bother to seek my opinion).

Sadly, though, things were not going along the thorny path of creation, but along the rather smooth path to oblivion. My husband, however, argued, “I believe in you and do my bestest to support you, so you MUST finish it and show me I was right.” Well, he said something to that end, only more colourful and not by those dry words.

So, in December I felt compelled to keep up my NaNo rhythm, or at least pretend to. Around the middle of December, quite naturally, approaching holidays diverted my attention and kicked me in the sinister pool of fake family festivity and horrendous horrors of hypocrisy. Two sets of non-working days were nearly waisted, but not completely. The deadline I had set myself did not see the finishing of my novel. In fact, I was not even near it. In despair, I decided to cut the story short and instead of completing the school year as I had initially planned, to stop the action at the turn of the Year – 1st of January, that is. So, I needed just of couple of scenes and talks and twists to make it to the end.

Hardly finding the time and place to sit and type (a curious nearly-2-year-old hitting keys and spilling water or putting heavy objects over the laptop is not a small obstacle), I took the printout of my piece that I had printed a while after the validation of the NaNo words and started reading. Almost immediately, I needed a pen. Things were nigh terrible 🙂 I mean, really!

Reading what I had written so far, yet, was extremely useful for me. I saw that although I thought I was spending too much time on a scene, it did not show in the text. Obviously, the time spent thinking and re-thinking, or even pre-thinking, does not have a way to get recorded on the page. I saw that certain events, or sub-events are so hasty and hurried that they are annoying. In addition, the big work of my November, was too short and I read it very fast. So, here are the lessons learnt.

Firstly, readers will not know what was in my head. That is why the “thing” in my head should not stop me from producing on page. I may get tired with my characters, due to over-use or over-communication with them, but that does not apply to the reader, in fact.

Secondly, the initial part is rubbish, but when I got the impetus, around the middle of the book, the reading is good. So, I need to give myself some time for tuning and then go back and revise those parts. It means that I need to spend longer chunks of time at a single sitting as it is around the 10th page that I begin writing tolerable stuff.

Thirdly, I decided to complete my original intention and cover the entire first year at school.

So, around the middle of January work began anew, and with a new perspective.