The past week has flown by in a whirlwind, and now on December 1, it still hasn’t quite registered with me that November is actually over.
This probably isn’t helped by the fact that it was 75 freaking degrees today. (Seriously, Oklahoma?)
One of the things we did this year that we haven’t done before was combine a last-chance write-in with the TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) party. The theory was that we would write until midnight, and then have the TGIO after that.
This had a good component and a bad component to it. As you might have guessed, the bad component was that the party didn’t end till about 2:30 in the morning, which meant I didn’t go to bed until around 4:30 a.m., an hour I haven’t seen since college.
But the good component was that we got to sit there, writing madly with everybody else, and cheering en masse as the people in our group crossed the finish line, some of them getting their word counts validated with only minutes to spare.
It was a great feeling to see the looks on people’s faces as they wrote more words in a day, or in an hour, than they ever thought possible. Even those who didn’t win still looked at their word counts and went, “I’ve never written this much before!”
That’s a large part of what NaNo is about. Not the winning, but the pushing yourself beyond your boundaries, past what you think you can do in an effort to meet a goal. And then at the end of the month, you look back on how far you’ve come and it’s downright shocking. You haven’t just pushed your limits; you’ve blown past them.
And actually getting to SEE that this year, to see people surprise themselves with what they managed to accomplish in a month, was probably my favorite part of November.
And now the Critic embarrasses herself
As many of you probably know, the Office of Letters & Light, which runs NaNoWriMo, is a nonprofit that depends on donations to keep running every year. This year, Rebekah and I made a deal with our region: If we raised over $1,000 for NaNo, she and I would read aloud the very first stories we ever wrote at the TGIO.
Considering we raised about $700 as a region last year, this wasn’t an impossible goal, but given how difficult it can be for some people to donate, we thought it would give us something good to push for.
Early the last week of November, we thought we’d get out of it, as we’d only raised $730.
Then, at the eleventh hour, our region came through and we broke the quadruple-digit barrier, donating an estimated total of $1,026 this year.
So after way too much caffeine and sugar, Rebekah and I read aloud stories that we literally had not looked at in 15-20 years, with her husband taking video for those who couldn’t attend the TGIO.
And because I either have no shame or I’m a sucker for punishment, here’s the video of me reading Feathers’ Overnight Adventure, followed by Rebekah reading The Jolly Dragon.
As you’ll see, neither of us could keep a straight face.
Yes, I knew the word “sarcastically” when I was eight years old. Also, “suddenly, an alligator” is TOTALLY going in the dare box next year.
I celebrated the end of NaNo the best way possible: by crashing on the couch, watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, and singing along to every single one of the songs.
NaNo is always crazy, always exhausting, and always, always fun. And I wouldn’t trade doing it for anything.
NaNo 2012 by the Numbers
Final official word count: 56,865/50,000
Most words written in a day: 7,301
Fewest words written in a day: 0
Number of pages in MS Word: 80 (Perpetua, 12 pt., single-spaced)
Number of characters (with spaces): 289,649 (the equivalent of almost 2,069 tweets)
Number of paragraphs: 1,643
Number of footnotes: 3
Number of chapters written: 13
Number of chapters outlined: 6
Number of sex scenes I skipped because I hit them in the middle of a write-in: 2
Number of hours spent at write-ins: 50.5
Average write-in attendance: 22 people
Highest number of attendees at a write-in: 27
Lowest number of attendees at a write-in: 12
Number of popsicle sticks that fell off the graveyard: 5
Number of characters I put in the graveyard: 5
Number of members: 1,271
Number of homed participants (people who claim Tulsa as home): 953
Number of active participants (homed participants that wrote this year): 218
Number of winners: 71 (32.5%!)
Number of words we wrote as a region: 6,856,103
Average word count: 31,450
And, my final excerpt (again, with the unedited thing):
“Why?” Nadine snaps back. “Because she’s your pet now? You’ve never put one person’s safety over the crew’s before, and that’s exactly what this is.”
“I’ve also never let any one member of the crew be sacrificed for the rest of us,” he seethes. “And I’m not starting now.”
“It wouldn’t be a sacrifice!” she shouts. “He’s been looking for his daughter for years. We show up with her, it’s all a big misunderstanding, and we might actually live to fight another day!”
“You have a great deal of faith in the Emperor’s kindness and mercy,” the captain grinds out. “You’ll forgive me if I don’t share your trust. What’s this really about, Nadine?”