Sunday, December 7, 2008

One to grow on – NaNoWriMo

Well November’s come to an end and I’ve got a mostly finished first draft of a novel. Looks like the final word count is going to be somewhere between 65,000 and 70,000 words. I’ve just started the climax of the novel and I’ve got it pretty planned out, so it should be relatively easy to wrap up.

So what did my NaNoWriMo experience teach me? First off that it is possible to write 50,000 words in a month. Sure this November had an extra weekend, and that certainly came in handy. However, I now have a good idea about how long a first draft should take the next time I tackle one of this size.

I also was able to just focus on actual writing and not be too concerned about what I was writing (hope that makes sense). I’m sure that some of what came out (especially in my lengthy dialogue scenes) will need to be clipped. I mentioned the exposition issue in the middle of the book in my previous blog. There was also an awkward transition between the final portion of the story and the climax of the story. It felt boring to write and I’m sure that at this point it’s pretty boring to read.

I also noticed that the story has some pretty typical plot points in it, especially in the middle and end portions. When I go back to the draft, I’m going to have to see if I can shake up the narrative a bit. It doesn’t do any good to keep the story suspense free after a solid first portion.

I also learned that the plan I put in place last year, of writing 2,500 words each writing day really prepared me for the task of participating in NaNoWriMo this year. 3,000 words each writing night didn’t seem so impossible after the 2,500 words. In addition the whole plan helped me keep on track. I fell behind a few times, especially when some holiday craziness intervened. Luckily I was able to catch up on the weekends.

With all that said, I had a real good time working on NaNoWriMo. I’m looking forward to the challenge next year and I encourage anyone who is interested in novel writing to give it a try. If anything, I finally got another part of the larger dark fantasy story I’ve been working on for years out onto paper (or into my hard drive). And that’s a very good feeling.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year (or previously)? What was your experience like? Do you have any questions about my experience that I didn’t bring up in my blog? Are you happy to see this over so I can get back to ranting and raving about movies, books and music?

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