And Da Winnah Is…

Perhaps you have noticed that as of yesterday I made some changes to the layout and contents of the blog. Nothing major or important, really, I just moved some of the items in the two columns to the right around, added one new category/image/link, and replaced the old NaNoWriMo “Participant” emblem with a “Winner” badge. Yep, itʼs true. I “won” the National Novel Writing Month challenge yesterday afternoon, certifying my 50,520 words about 3:50 PM.

Donʼt believe me? Click here and check it out. (The winner badge over there under the book title works as well.) I feel relatively pleased with myself. I did not really believe I could do it, especially on an entirely new project about which I had planned or thought almost nothing whatsoever. Moreover, I also got the blog up every day, too, and only have 31 further daily posts to go to fulfill that other, but-partially-acknowledged goal… But back to the November novel project!

I donʼt have a finished novel, as I suggested recently. Slaves to the Lesser Moon is going to run considerably more than NaNoWriMoʼs 50,000 words. In fact Dylan Hunter (I finally came up with a first name for him, one which the reptilian folk of Tysriel could conceivably pronounce, unlike that surname, which at one point I have a native mangle as “Humʼterh”) is currently, in the midst of Chapter 12, stranded in a city (Batsuʼyillogh) of baddies, the Boʼmghtsaly, having just fought a forced duel with another prisoner/slave, after nearly a full month in a dungeon dug in the earth a long way underground. Heʼs got a lot ahead of him (no bird-people yet, no Travelers, although I had about three paragraphs written out of sequence on them). As a potential series, itʼs got (many) ways to go. Even so, I am delighted to have written that much in one story. Unfortunately, I have just as much and more to go.

So one of my changes yesterday was to move the NaNoWriMo badge (switched out for the winner status) to a more prominent spot. The other was to add an indication of my gratitude to the software that made Slaves (and I hope much more soon) possible — Scrivener, the ideal program for writing long books, fiction or nonfiction. Lots of programs put Microsoftʼs Word to shame, but Scrivener leaves all the rest choking on dust as well.

I want to credit writer Gwen Hernandez, who was one of my instructors on the use of Scrivener with her “Tech Tuesday” posts and other observations about writing technology on her blog. Thanks to Scrivener Facebook updates directing me to her insightful essays, she gave me more information than I have yet used on the ins and outs of this fascinating and worthwhile piece of software. Furthermore (and more relevantly for this paragraph), in reading her blog, I grew envious of her cool “A Mac Writer Using Scrivener” badge, which I appropriated (borrowed?) and tagged with the Literature & Latte URL some time after 4:00 yesterday afternoon. I hope she approves because without the program, I am sure I would not have written so much, and I would like to honor its role in my writing.

Not that Slaves to the Lesser Moon doesnʼt need work. In fact if you check the “Novel Info” tab on the NanoWriMo site and read my little sample from Chapter 4, “A New World,” you can see right away that I was not merely overwriting wildly (at least sometimes) but throwing away words that would serve no purpose except to get cut — to wit, “I was alone on a strange world where the most horribly hideous creatures swam the upper air and apparently craved my flesh for food.” I can live with the alliteration of the “flesh for food,” but only horrible or hideous can remain to describe the flying lizard monsters Hunter will later name pterodaunts, thus reducing the word count from just that sentence by three words (as “the most” is unnecessary as well): “I was alone on a strange world where hideous creatures swam the upper air and apparently craved my flesh for food.”

I should create a Longer Items page for Slaves Chapter 1 that I have posted here, but I didnʼt take the time yesterday. I also have edits on things that I have noticed (like problems with “Mantorville” and perhaps a Longer Items entry for some of the essays I have stretched over days of posts previously, including “Whereʼs Your Head This Morning” — godawful title, that, Tarzan and the four parts about Religion and the First Amendment). And thatʼs pretty much my changes (mostly discussed just so I can brag, at least to myself, that I did it). Maybe now I can read something other than my own scrivenings — although I did get all the way through rereads of A Princess of Mars, Tarnsman of Gor and City of the Chasch as nightly research this past month, plus opening chapters of about a half-dozen other planetary adventures, including the first third of Dragonflight.

But now itʼs writing time on a Tuesday. A new month looms tomorrow. I should get to dictating the rest of “Mistakes by Moonlight” to Scrivener, and take a look over the few hundred words I penned in the Michaelʼs parking lot yesterday on its sequel, “Death Wizardʼs Vengeance.” And thereʼs at least another 50,000 words to add to push Slaves to the Lesser Moon to a finish. See you tomorrow.

©2010 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.

2 thoughts on “And Da Winnah Is…

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