Michaeline: End of NaNo 2013

And there was much rejoicing as the story was harvested and taken to the story mill for further processing!

And there was much rejoicing as the story was harvested and taken to the story mill for further processing!

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.

6 thoughts on “Michaeline: End of NaNo 2013

  1. Here in the States we’ve got one more day to write, so I think I’m not quite finished yet. Still–Nano is all but over. I hit my personal goal of 15K words, so I’m pretty happy, although I haven’t written for the last two days because of Thanksgiving and guests. I’ve missed other days during the month, too–just here and there when I had a cold or the press of the day job tired me out too soon. Nano helped me get back in the groove, and while the WIP is pretty choppy, I’ve had some good ideas for it and have made decent progress. I’m glad I wasn’t focused on “winning,” though–that’s a poor goal, I think–just setting my own goals and using the energy of Nano to meet them.

    • Sounds as though you got a great result from NaNo, Micki and Kay. There are more ways to ‘win’ than hitting 50k words, though kudos to writers like Nancy, who did. Congratulations to everyone who made it through. I’m looking forward to sharing the experience next year.

      • Oh, my, yes! I’m in awe of Nancy and Justine and Micki and everybody else who did so brilliantly and forged ahead. Next year, 50K and counting…and I’ll be looking for you, Jilly!

        • Oh, yes. NaNo puts things in a “win” category — I think if you write 50,000 words a month as a professional writer, you are just doing business as usual. But if you do it as part of NaNo, there’s a whole marathon feel to it. And I think the community is so supportive of any effort — just trying is enough to count as a win. I think the only way to not win at NaNo is to not try in the first place.

          (-: Of course, if you are writing outside of NaNo, it’s a win, too. You just have to reframe your thinking (-:.

          I don’t know why gaming the system should bring about so many positive results. When you are in the “flow,” writing really is it’s own reward, and it’s great. I suppose it’s because the “flow” is so erratic, and when you aren’t in it, writing can be absolutely miserable.

  2. What I learned about NaNo is that when life isn’t crashing around me, I can really produce! Seriously, though, having NaNo in November is just plain dumb. I pretty much stopped writing on the 18th when my kids started having half days at school, and then Thanksgiving hit. *sigh* I suppose December will be the same.

    The biggest take-away, though, was that pre-planning my scenes leads to lots of words. Now I just need to pre-plan my ending, then I’ll be set!

    • (-: It’s great that you found out what your writing engine can do when you let ‘er loose.

      They figure if you can write that much in November, you can do the same things any month of the year (but I think everyone gets a free pass in December!). I’m aiming for 30,000 words in December. I need to find one of them there writer widgets to help me track my progress (or I could go all cavegirl and put up gold stars on a chart, I guess).

      Now that I’ve said it, I have to do it. I’m really feeling lazy today, but if I could do it in November, I can do it this month, too.

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