Tuesday, December 01, 2009

National Novel Writing Month 2009 - Winner!

On March 20, 2009, I joined nanowrimo.org as user Stephen_M_99 for National Novel Writing Month 2009, which occurs in November. Shortly before 5:00 AM, November 28, 2009, I completed the rough draft of the novel (all that was necessary was that the word count be sufficient). The word processor I was using (MS Works) gave the word count at 52,110, but after after encrypting it as suggested (by changing each letter to "a") and uploading it to them for verification, the word count came out at 52,111. I had read earlier, though, that different programs can give different word counts, so I was prepared for a difference. I was happy and surprised that it was such a small difference.

Among the goodies offered to winners were the following web badges. Though I am showing them all here, I'm just going to put the tall one in the sidebar.


My novel is science fiction, and I described it as follows in the Novel Info section:


A man finds himself going through time and other dimensions and has several adventures, unknowingly being trained by a secret organization, and in the process essentially creating his own past, and even himself.


The cave seemed to be mostly a tunnel, and wound around, turning this way and that. After the first few feet, he couldn't see anything. Then he saw a lighter area ahead, and walked faster, glad that he would soon be out.

He walked though the opening and then abruptly stopped. A man lay in the sand, about ten feet away, face down, his head toward the cave. It looked like he had been heading this way when he had fallen. Jack looked around at the gray sea and the rocky land, and at the slime. Oh no. Here again. He was already having trouble breathing, already tasting the acrid metallic flavor of the poisonous air. Someone else had come here, someone who didn't make it. He wondered if the man was still alive, if he still had time to get him out.

Jack rushed to him and put his arms under the man's shoulders and lifted him partly up, and began to back out with him, hurrying as much as he could. He was already out of breath, and it was hard with all this extra weight. He managed to get him out into the tunnel, though, and he could somehow breathe there, like the air from the place didn't follow them there. After a while, he realized he was going a different way from the way he had come. Even though it was dark, he could tell that the turns were different. Where was he going now?

After a shorter time than it had taken the first time, he found himself going through an exit from the cave. It's a good thing it was shorter, it was exhausting to have to drag a body along with him. He got him partway out of the cave, and laid him back down. He lifted his head up a bit and turned it to the side, then froze, stunned. It was himself! It was his body! Well, it wasn't really a body, he had known for some time that it was breathing, but it was himself!

Jack stared at him, having trouble understanding it. Was he going to go back there again, and fail to make it, and then be rescued by his earlier self? Then it hit him. This was his earlier self he was looking at. He hadn't made it earlier, after all. His later self had come and rescued him, and left him here. He looked around. The tracks of the cat were there, like before, but now his own tracks were there, too. He had to get rid of them. He went and pulled a leafy branch off a bush, and began carefully brushing his tracks away, making the area smooth. He suddenly stopped and straightened up. Oh no! He had wiped out the cat's prints, too! Now what?

Suddenly, something small rushed out of the cave, brushing against him as it went. He looked at the ground, and the tracks were back. He looked at the way it had headed, but all he saw now were more tracks. They seemed to blend with the old ones, the ones that were left. He guessed it was all okay, then. He carefully backed away, brushing out his tracks and leaving the cat's, feeling incredibly ashamed and sneaky. He was putting one over on himself! It didn't get any sneakier than that.

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