04 December 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Reflections

November is, thankfully, over and with it National Novel Writing Month 2009.

I should probably not say "never" because one never knows, but my first reaction is to say "I will never do NaNo again."

Let me back up and explain:
1. I won this year, my final NaNo word count clocking in at 50,045 words. That count left me in the middle of a scene. Literally.
2. In November, I read only four or five books (way below my normal 7 or 8) because I couldnt' do both. Frankly, I missed reading.
3. I let lots of stuff slide this month. Chores. Hanging out with friends. Volunteering.
4. More days than not, I ended up in physical pain from the number of hours I spent typing away. My chair is ergonomic and all that, but that much sitting and typing at a stretch is just too much.

So, here's where my thinking is. I won NaNo, but quite frankly, I was sure I was going to. I don't mean that to sound arrogant at all, but I know me. I don't set goals willy-nilly; I don't start things I can't finish (unless of course you count the times I've tried to read The Three Musketeers... then, well, that's different...)

I've written 50,000 words before. While I'm still working on the getting published part, I know that I can sit down and write a story with a beginning, middle and an end. And one that has a plot.

The problem I had with NaNo honestly was the no revising thing. I've mostly been a write it all the way through till it's done girl, but this time, I saw a big thing I wanted to change in the early chapters when I was about halfway through. It means I need to take some things away, and add some others. It was frustrating to not be able to make those changes right then when I needed to. Granted, I made them in my head and proceeded as if the early chapters were corrected. But still.

Conversely, I had a couple days where, because of the pace which made it so I couldn't think about it too much, things happened that were unexpected and I think, damn cool. Or if not cool, usable for the plot. Kind of nice to have to be that free in the creative process.

I wouldn't warn someone off from NaNo in the future, but I would want them to think about what their goals for it are. Is it really to write just that much quantity? Is it to play with ideas and see where they lead? Is it try to write something that will end up publishable? If it's that last one, I would definitely make sure they understand the vast, vast quantities of work to come. My editing machete will have to be used on a couple scenes (they were boring come out, so I know they will be boring to read...)

The NaNo story is not done, so I'll be back at it next week for sure. I'm not wasting these 50,000 words and the time I put in.

In the meantime, as compensation (meager, meager compensation) for all my posts about NaNo, I will post a small excerpt from mine on Monday. Happy reading.

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