It’s the last day of NaNo. So, here’s the condensed version of what I’ve learned.
Week One: Turn off the inner censor. Gosh, how fun it was to write in week one! I loved discovering who my characters were! I had no idea where the story was going, but every day was a joy as I got to watch events unfold delightfully. The first draft is about discovery, not perfect prose.
Week Two: I learn (again) the value of perseverance. If I keep writing, something will come. Maybe not today, maybe not even tomorrow, but at some point, the plot will turn. If I don’t write, it won’t come.
Also, I wrote in the real world for the first time. It’s given me a whole new view of writing details. Usually, I write what I “see” in my head. But looking at pictures made me realize that I’m not fully envisioning things. I can see space issues better in a photo (how my characters can move in a room or a neighborhood), and even simple details become important, like: does this table have a grain on it?
Week Three: I still need to keep going. The stupidity of my plot seems almost insurmountable at times, but if I keep writing, a solution will come. Procrastination is the enemy of Week Three. No, taking a day off will not help me think better. I can write words and think at the same time, and get a better result than just sitting and thinking alone. When there’s a breakthrough, it feels really great.
Week Four: Ah, the joy of finishing! What a lovely feeling when all those threads come together, and the story is done. On the other hand, I’ve discovered I’m a premature ejaculator when I write. The finish comes in a big rush, and then I have nothing left to write, and no desire to tackle anything else. My first NaNo was about 43,000, IIRC. My second NaNo was 46,000, but I tacked on an epilog of epic proportions to “win.” Useful stuff in that, so it wasn’t a complete waste. This time, I finished at 39,310, and then my dayjob got crazy, my evenings got filled up, and, well . . . . I didn’t start on that time-slippy subplot that I thought I write for the win. So, note to future stuff: rack up an extra 10,000 words at the beginning of November next year!
All that said, I have a great story, and I had a great time this month. And now I have plenty of editing and restructuring to keep me busy until next November. I’m ready to start on draft two of one of my old NaNos in December!
Hope you all had a great month, NaNo or not. I’d love to hear an update about your novels and WIPs.