Thursday, 11 December 2014

NaNo Wrap Up

It just occurred to me the other day that I’ve not done any sort of write-up on how I fared with NaNoWriMo this year. Well, I did include my counts in my Weekly Rundown posts but as I was away on the 30th I never actually wrote a post to brag about my final total.

I Won!

Well, you already knew that already, didn’t you? I kind of bragged about it after I hit 50,000 words on the 13th of November. Technically I won twice though as I wrote two stories during the month (though one was over 50,000 and the other was just under) both were followed through from the beginning to end.


Things that I learned this year:

I can ‘pants’ a novel.

In previous years when I’ve tried to get by without any planning I’ve hated it, all of my previous wins have been fairly carefully planned out. In some cases I’ve planned out all the smallest details so that nothing came as a surprise.

This year’s second novel, tentatively named Inseparable, was a complete surprise to me. I got the idea around the 8th and it niggled at me so I planned out some things that might happen but didn’t write anything down. I vaguely thought that Grandma Wiltshire would get ill and be unable to help the girls get away from each other; she died instead. I thought that this was the one and only spell Grandma Wiltshire had cast on her granddaughters, I was wrong there as well.

It was really fun going into a story, knowing very little about any of the characters, and finding things I’d never imagined happening.

I can write something other than realistic fiction.

I mean, I’ve written a sci-fi romance before, a pretzelly crime thriller twice, a futuristic sort of story and won with all of them. But most of them fizzle out as I lose momentum in the last week. Or I get to 50,000 words and wrap things up just to be done. Which is sort of what I did with Life After.
Inseparable was one of those stories that I would’ve liked to have read in a book myself. And although it’s a bit sketchy in places, because I was on the clock and so didn’t have time to sit down and work out ‘how exactly did this happen?’ so I fudged things to keep my motivation up and make the story move forward. Of the two stories I wrote this year, it’s the one I could see myself going back to and polishing up.

If I’m going to plan, I need to not do it on my Kindle.

I did all my planning on my Kindle this year. It was convenient and it meant I could sit in bed and type away at things while we were watching The Dukes of Hazzard. This meant that when I was typing out my NaNo on my laptop, I couldn’t just open up the file or notebook where I’d got my notes, I’d have to load up my Kindle as well. As I was often NaNoing in between writing blog posts, or taking my laptop to my in-laws’ which meant I’d have to remember my Kindle for my notes as well. The obvious solution to this would be to make a copy of my notes on my laptop or print them out so I can carry them around with me as well.

Also perhaps not doing quite so much planning. I had everything figured out with my first story, so it was kind of an exercise in joining the dots. My second story was more fun because it was all new to me.

Things I’d like to try next year:
  • Pantsing again.
  • Waiting until 31st October to come up with an idea and just seeing where it takes me.
  • Being more involved on the NaNo forums during November.
  • Set up some sort of reward system for myself to celebrate my achievements during the month (my Mum wrapped up a present for me to open when NaNo finished and that motivated me to keep going during the moments when I might otherwise have quit).
  • Take part in some of the dares or challenges on the NaNo boards.
There is one thing I’d like to try, if I had a more reliable internet connection so I knew I could post to my blog every day. I’d like to write so much and then let blog readers decide which of two or more directions I should go with the story. It’d be interesting to see what happened to a story when you let other people assume control over bits of it.


So will I be doing NaNo next year? I think the above shows that I probably will be. It’s become such a normal part of my yearly calendar now that I can’t imagine giving it up!

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