Nanowrimo: The End Draws Near

It’s been a very productive writing month for me on the NaNoWriMo front and I’m on schedule to pass 50,000 words on Wednesday right on schedule. I’m still pretty happy with my story overall, although there are myriad things to go back and clean up, revise and edit now that I have a much clearer idea of where the characters and plot are going. When I get to 50,000 words I will have really just finished part one of the two parts that will ultimately make up what I think the final novel should end up being.

I’m really happy that I ended up using Bazaar-NG and plain text to write my novel the whole way through. It’s going to make revising it and editing it so much nicer down the road. Eventually, when the story is in a little bit more finished form I plan to start formatting it using LaTeX to get it into PDF format for eventual self publication at

On a LaTeX related note, I took a math class back in college that introduced it for the purpose of writing papers, but I hadn’t really paid attention to it for the last 10 years. LaTeX still works pretty much the way that I remembered it, but there have been a few significant changes and improvements in the the intervening decade. For one thing it’s now totally easy to install and run under MacOS X. There are also an amazing amount of add on modules that make it a lot easier to lay out documents in just about any form imaginable (the memoir document class looks outstanding for book creation). Perhaps most importantly, exporting to pdf from LaTeX is totally painless and pretty much the defacto standard for final document distribution now rather than the more crufty dvi to postscript dance we had to go through 10 years ago.

  • Heather

    One warning with LaTeX… beware of writing things in it that require extensive use of those keys around the edge of the keyboard. I wrecked my hands and arms more than 10 years ago by typesetting physics papers (lots of equations) in LaTeX and they still haven’t recovered.

    That said, it's a cool and handy thing, so if you don't have to do lots of work that involves extending your fingers and wrists, I think it would be a great way to format your writing.
  • Jason

    Speaking of keys on the edge of the keyboard, when I started looking into LaTeX again a few weeks ago, I was initially horrified by the way that it handled quotation marks– a detail that I had forgotten in the intervening 10 years. The thought of formatting a lot of dialogue that way in a work of fiction was not appealing. Then I realized that TextMate, my text editor of choice, has a really nice LaTeX mode that takes a lot of the pain out of things like that and makes it really easy to create custom macros and shortcuts that remove a lot of those issues. Thanks for the warning though.

  • Heather

    It’s true, my knowledge of LaTeX is about 10 years out of date. I imagine people have come up with some great way to make things like that easier by now! 🙂 Best of luck with your writing, by the way. I’ve often wanted to try NaNoWriMo just because it sounds like fun, but although I enjoy writing fiction, somehow I always end up writing non-fiction instead. (Kind of like, back when I wrote more fiction, I’d try to write in other genres and always end up writing some type of horror despite myself…)