The Adventures of NaNoWriMo: Episode 1

I have mentioned previously that I am in the midst of applying to grad school, in addition to other projects. This has made me hesitant to join the NaNoWriMo train. Over the course of October, I made tentative efforts to participate. I did a light outline of one of the stories kicking around in my head, fleshed out the characters, and considered my options. However, the muse did not strike, and I felt uninspired as October 31 arrived.

On Halloween, as the NaNoWriMo train was leaving the station, I grabbed the rail of the caboose and climbed on board.


Here is the synopsis I wrote for my project:

The only survivor of a mission gone wrong, Zaida Janan returns to the command ship of the Kuiper Republic only to be arrested for treason and the murder of her team, including her commander and best friend, Makteson Valdez. The Kuiper Republic is at war with the Hu Empire, and has no time to facilitate court marshals. Zaida is sent to a cryo-freeze prison, frozen in time and unknowing of her fate.

Fifteen years later, Zaida wakes to a world unknown, the Kuiper Republic victorious, and a state of apparent peace. However, a secret rebellion is growing, and hoping to use Zaida at the center of their plans. Zaida must discover the truth of that night to prevent the uprising, prove her innocence, and stay alive.

This is a space opera, with action, adventure, and intrigue. Spaceships will fly and things will explode.

Yet, I still did not feel inspired to dive into the story as the pressures of other responsibilities rested on me.

Then, on Friday, November 1st, as I was taking my 90 minute commute home on the bus, I listened to this song:

(Sarah Slean, if you are unfamiliar, is a Canadian singer-songwriter who should be far more famous internationally than she is. She is also one of my top ten music artists.)

In my tired state, I let my mind wander, and I ventured upon something new, set in the world of a novella of mine in the Beta Reading stage (UPDATE 10/2015: That novella is now my first novel, The True Bride and the Shoemaker, out and published). It was one of those rare moments when the fires of the imagination strikes, and I know I must capture the story as quickly as possible before the muse goes on vacation.

I worked feverishly the rest of the ride home, Saturday evening, and Sunday morning. Sunday, I returned home from church, restarted my computer to fix a problem. When I went to open the document, the horror I wrote of in my previous blog post came true: There was nothing there.

If there is one thing I have learned in life, and from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it is this:


(Actually, I carry a scarf instead, but I think it is within the same general category as towels.)

Forcing myself to remain calm, I went online and looked at ways to recover word documents. I tried every way, entered dozens of search terms in the document folder, searched the entire computer, but all to no avail. I had completed around 5,000 words of the story, and now had only the initial, raw 1200 words.

Fortunately, and unfortunately, I have yet to find a word processing app for Android that doesn’t crash now and then with large documents. While writing on my tablet on the bus, I save after every sentence, and sometimes every phrase – and I had thought I had done so on my laptop. However, I have had days where I have gotten lost in my content, and spent the last half-hour on magnificent words, hit the save button, and then opened my eyes to see a crash report.

And so, I have had to re-do a scene more times than I would like. It is rarely pleasant, as your mind tries to capture the utter brilliance of what was lost – and, what was lost is always psychologically better than what you have written (unless you somehow find what was lost, and realize it is almost exactly the same).

This is disheartening, and I think some of the liveliness of the first draft is missing. However, I believe in this story, and I believe it is worth persevering on the long road to a complete draft.

How is your NaNoWriMo going? Have you ever had technical issues destroy your work? (My most recently completed novel survived two computers crashing. Hooray for the hard drives surviving).


If you would like to be my NaNoWriMo buddy, my user name is L. Palmer. Some of my friends and I are having difficulty with the buddy search feature, so if someone has figured it out let me know.

If you would like me to add you, leave your user name in the comments below.

Other Important Things In November:

9 thoughts on “The Adventures of NaNoWriMo: Episode 1

  1. Ouch. That’s painful, you poor thing. I write all of my stuff long-hand, so if I have a computer crash I can painstakingly type it all up again. Also, I got into the habit of emailing what I’ve typed up to myself. Then it’s always around somewhere. Good luck with NaNo!

  2. Good luck with NaNo. That sounds like a great concept. Can’t wait to see what you make of it over the next month.

    I have definitely lost writing and work to computer or software crashes. I have my MS Word set to auto save after every 3 minutes so that I only have to save it the first time. But still, I do the “CTRL S” after every sentence out of habit! And then I back up the whole document to the cloud though I’ve been rethinking that part of my process.

    Have fun writing!!

  3. Pingback: The Month I Wrote A Novel: My 2013 NaNoWriMo Adventure | The L. Palmer Chronicles

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