Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo for the Win!

30 days; 51,375 words.  Not bad.

This was my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month.  I was excited, because I already had a story idea, complete with the names of two main characters, that had been on the back burner for a couple of years.  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to actually write the book.

So I did!

For those who are unfamiliar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the goal is to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November.  It begins at midnight (am) on November first, and ends at midnight (pm) on November 30th.  If you accomplish this mission, you are an official NaNoWriMo Winner.*

But Rachel, isn't it hard to write through all the Thanksgiving holiday festivities?

Yes.  Yes, it is.  Which is why I missed a couple days of writing during the final week of NaNo, which is not when you want to be falling farther behind.

Actually, I started falling behind on Day Four, when the movers came and delivered my stuff.  Thus began a pattern: fall behind, catch up, fall behind, catch up most of the way, fall behind, make up for the new deficit but not the accumulated lack of words, etc.  On Day 30, I had to write over 4,000 words to reach my 50,000.

When I finally hit the word-count goal, I had not quite finished the book yet.  And it was only around 8:00 or 8:30 pm.  So I kept typing - part of the deal is, it's supposed to be a complete book.  I finished somewhere around 9 or 9:30, I think.  I ended up writing 5,753 words yesterday, which is awesome.

Winning NaNo is very satisfying, especially for a would-be author such as myself.  It's nice to see how much you can actually do in a mere month.  I now officially have no excuses for not being a highly productive writer.**

Now of course, in this case, I already knew basically what I was doing with this project, so I didn't have to spend a bunch of time thinking about plot and character and what-not, which can suck up a lot of time.  But the point still stands.

So basically, the lesson of NaNoWriMo is: I can do The Writing!

But Rachel, what will you do now that you've finished writing the book?

Well, now I'll pledge to do re-writes (NaNo follow-up).  And, you know, actually do them.  *Sigh*  That's going to be a lot of work.

You see, when you're doing NaNo, you're not supposed to edit as you write.  You're just supposed to lay out whatever comes to mind, be it genius or be it drivel.   Now, I will admit to having done some editing as I went along, but not much - it's still a rough draft.  And since the plot and characters developed a bit differently than I had originally intended,^ I definitely have some changes to make, like integrating concepts I thought of on Day 20 into the opening section of the novel so that when you encounter the idea in the Day 20 segment, it's not new information.  Moving stuff like that around will, I think, constitute the bulk of the re-writing.

Anyway!  NaNoWriMo mission accomplished.

New Goal for December: Finish my poetry book and put it up for sale.

*I'm a little relieved that I made it through the final push - I pre-ordered my winner's T-Shirt, so that could have been embarrassing...

**Even after I start classes - most days I fulfilled my word count in an hour or two at the computer.

^I know, right?  Shocker.

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