Some other NaNoWriMo Thoughts

Trying to write 50,000 words in a month felt like holding my breath under water – everything else was suspended while I worked on writing. I basically ate, slept, went to work and wrote. I cut out television, most socializing and practically all other stuff that invades my day. Trying to keep the house clean, pay attention to twitter or running errands all those distractions went on the back burner. (Facebook was a must, though – because interacting with the NaNo Indy group was a lifeline to keep me going.)

It worked, largely because I removed a lot of barriers to focusing and getting in the zone to writing, and the forced deadline can work wonders.

Is that sustainable, though? Can I really zone out my friends, turn off the television and blow off the house all the time?

I wish there were a better way to balance. Because not writing is not an option, now.

Cutting out the television is pretty easy. Helping around the house, running errands and socializing are more difficult. I’m considering whether twitter really has much of a place in my life anymore.

I need to simplify things so I can both write and interact with my spouse and go to my job without becoming an ascetic.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated on this matter.

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Validated

So.. I won NaNoWriMo again this year.

NaNoWriMo Winner 2012

I finished three days early – with 50,058 words written this year added to what I wrote last year. Now I need to write the actual final chapters and not just scenes from the climactic ending, but hey – I’m a lot closer to a complete work than last year. Now it’s not a question of if I will ever self-publish, but when.

Last year at this time, I was reading over my novel, and I was really frustrated, because it seemed complete unrealistic. At about the half-way point of the story, I had one of my two main characters do something completely out of character for the way I had written about her up to that point. I did it because I couldn’t think of any other way to get her in the excruciating position she needed to be in so the villain could torment her and drive the rest of the plot. But that false note made all the rest of it seem really hard to believe. It just didn’t read right, and all the following events seemed flat and desperate, like a huge rationalization. I chewed on that for the whole rest of the year and didn’t know what to do. I loved the beginning and loved the characters, but I hated the middle and the end.

This year Garrett Hutson said something at the being of November about plot development along the lines of – “know where your characters are going to go, but to get them there, use a compass, not a map.” That set me thinking – okay, if that plot point seems out of character for my main character, what would she actually do instead? I threw out everything except the end where the characters needed to go, and started writing from just before that false note… and I realized if I changed the villain slightly, and added secondary villain who was working with and also at cross-purposes to the first one, I could get the MC into that excruciating position in a more real way, and then all the dominos started to fall one by one. Now I like the whole story from beginning to end. Even though I threw out 23,000 words I wrote last year and started over, this is a much better story, and one that makes me really happy to read throughout.

I’m in danger, though, of not keeping up with the story now. I hate that the 50,000 word mark was a finish line of sorts, because it’s not done at all, and I still need to keep writing it. It’s good, I think, and original, and interesting, so I need to actually push through and finish.

It was a huge accomplishment that I never thought I could do once, let alone twice. I need to make it work for real. If you could – cattle prod me, please? Bug me about it as much as possible so I don’t get complacent. This was cool, and something that was important to me to do, so I don’t want to let it slide.

NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day 9

8. 13,336 – 2750 (14497, +1161)

Those are my notations for Day 8 of National Novel Writing Month.

13,336 – that’s “par for the course” or the least word count for day 8 to stay on track to “win.”

2750 – the number of words I wrote yesterday.

14497 – total word count for November 2012. I have the chapters I wrote last year, but I’m not counting them in this years’ event. Some of those will get trashed and some considerably altered when I’m finished.

+1161 – the number of words I have as a “word count cushion” over the minimum to stay on course.

So I’m keeping up the pace pretty well. I’m poised to do more this weekend that I hope will really put me ahead. I have a pretty clear idea of where I’m going, too, but I’m trying to be flexible enough to make sure I can make changes. As our friend Garrett says – “Know where you’re going, but use a compass and not a road map.”

I have a much more fully formed notion of setting this year than last, which really helps me add detail to scenes and paint a more interesting visual picture than last year, and helped me add detail to the action as well. And I think I have a more complete and satisfying ending in mind that I did last year, with some nice turning points to get us there.

I’m very optimistic that I can get closer to complete by the end of November, and ready to polish. My goal is to have it ready to show my editor – that would be Stephanie – by February. I have one or two other people I want to get feedback from as well. And with editing and revisions based on feedback, I’d really like to have it ready for publication by the end of April. I’m going to use Book Tango to self-publish for e-publication, I think. I don’t have an agent lined up or anything, so I don’t anticipate being able to get the attention of a traditional publisher at first. We’ll see.

Nanowrimo Participant 2012