A Nearly Impossible NaNo

It doesn’t matter how many times you win NaNoWriMo, it always feels epic. This will be my fourth win since I started doing them in 2010, including both the Camps and regular NaNos of course. My story isn’t done, and in fact I think I’m only a little over halfway to being finished.

Looking back over the piece, it’s amusing to see what sorts of tropes got repeated. I don’t mean words, or phrases, or anything like that. George R. R. Martin is known for his extensive description of food and meals. Tolkien for his obsession with hobbits and their culture. For me it was having drinks with long discussions around said drinks. And they weren’t even alcoholic!

I realized that for every major conversation, I had folks that would be drinking. Twice I have characters preparing and drinking tea, once they’re drinking water, and another pair is getting coffee together. All different scenes and all rather different characters to boot.

I suppose I have to come to terms with the fact that I have a drinking problem. Er, in my writing, I mean.

Not that it’s terribly strange, at least I don’t think so. I wrote this piece in July, which is mid-summer here in the southern US. Our temperatures hover between upper 80s – low 100s (30 – 40 Celsius). So naturally when you do have a moment to sit down with friends and family and share conversation, you’re typically nursing some kind of drink. That’s my excuse, at least, and I’m sticking to it. Hydration is important, people!

In a lot of ways, I’m amazed that I actually finished this NaNo. There were a ton of things stacked against me, and not all bad things either. Here’s a quick list:

  • Sister got married, and I was a bridesmaid. Plus the guys had their bachelor party the night before so we had friends sleep over at the house. Needless to say, things were a bit hectic!
  • The day after the wedding, we found out that our water main outside the house was gushing water into the lawn. The cause? A tree root unturned the knob that kept the water shut off. Seriously, nature can be vicious at times! Apparently this is a common problem too! So keep an eye out for new homes with adorable trees planted on either side of your water line. They may be planning terrible things.
  • Due to said water leakage, silly me went outside in shorts to help out the Water Department fix it. The mosquitoes loved me. I am apparently a magnet for them. Need to know if mosquitoes are in the area? Just air drop me in, and I’ll let you know in ten minutes.
  • Right after the wedding we went on a trip to the beach. It rained almost the entire time. BUT we still had lots of fun beach time and the rough waves were totally worth it.

This was just the beginning of July. If I hadn’t gotten any writing in the first week, I could have lost a quarter of my work. Instead of giving in to my whims, I made the time to write. Some of the best times I had were sitting outside and listening to the waves and the seagulls while working on my NaNo fiction.

Slathered in Bullfrog of course!

Here’s a picture of one of our favorite writing places. It’s warm even though it’s early morning of course, and the beach is right on the other side of the white railing. Everything was still wet from the downpour the night before. I took this just before we left that afternoon.


Oh The Things You’ll Research!

It’s funny the crazy things you come up with to research when you’re writing. I’ll admit when I’m doing Draft 1, especially during NaNo, I’m not really paying much attention to really in-depth detail. Unless I’ve really planned ahead and done the work ahead of time. I’m just trying to get the info down. So when I can do a quick Google search and find what I’m looking for in a nice, easy-to-use bit, that just makes my day. I can get back to writing and not have to waste hours researching.

That is, after all, a constant threat to productivity. All it takes is one or two searches, and suddenly you’re off on research for the next 2+ hours, wondering why your word count isn’t going anywhere.

Well not this gal! (At least not today…)

Here are some of the amusing things I’ve had the pleasure of researching the last few days, and what I’ve learned.


Archaic Medical Terms

I never had an appreciation for just how many words meant ‘alcoholic’ until I looked over this list. It includes everything from Brandy Face and Brandy Nose, to Blue Devils and Barrel Fever. It’s really a good example of how different practitioners in different areas of the world came up with multiple terms for the same affliction. You take for granted that everybody calls it the same thing today.

They say that the number of words you use to describe something in a language symbolizes just how important it is to that culture. If that’s the case, alcohol was incredibly important.


Gambling in Japan

Did I mention I’m working on a Yu-Gi-Oh! fan fiction piece for Camp NaNo this July? I don’t want to give too many details, but the job for one of the characters was to work as a dealer in a casino. Unfortunately I found out that casinos are illegal in Japan. Who knew? It apparently keeps coming up as a possibility to get passed, and has a good amount of popularity, but it keeps getting struck down. So I had flub my story a bit so that it would work.

I wanted to make sure that the world was plausible. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, but I didn’t want the reader to have to stretch too far to see that it could happen. What I thought was interesting was this:

On April 4, 2011, Shintaro Ishihara, the current Tokyo Governor, have spoken against the pachinko parlours, arguing that the popular game together with vending machines eat up about 1000kWh. He said that following the consequences the earthquake of March 11, 2011, the government asked people to reduce energy consumption, but asking wasn’t enough and the government order should have been enacted.


(Pulled from Wikipedia. I know not the best resource in the world, but I thought the idea was interesting.)

I guess I never really considered just how much energy a casino would waste. I don’t really live near one, and have never visited one either, but I can guess that Las Vegas is probably an enormous power house. Especially when you consider that it can be seen from outer space.


Seriously that is Vegas at Night. It looks like it’s surrounded by ocean instead of desert.

So I can totally understand why the current Tokyo Governor is not wanting them put in.

(But I can do what I want in fiction, right?)