Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Is anyone out there doing National Novel Writing Month this year? I wanted to post about my experiences with it because this is my FOURTH year participating.

In a nutshell, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 175-page/50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th. Word count is the only goal. Unlike any other writing you've probably done, NaNoWriMo encourages quantity and that's it. So, as a participant you have to kind of train yourself to keep writing and stop worrying about what you write. In fact, Chris Baty, the director of the program, encourages that it's a stress-free thing, anything goes (content-wise).

For me, that's hard, producing something you know isn't great writing, but having to just deal with it.

My experiences so far have been like this:

Year #1 (2006): I was awesome at developing characters (I had a mother character who was a police officer and was OBSESSED with her job and all things in life being aligned with the law) but terrible at keeping any kind of plot going for 50,000 words. The end product was okay, I wasn't about to go showing it off, but it was DONE. I had just written my first novel!

Year #2 (2007): This year was a flop. My plot literally didn't exist. My characters just kept doing things like going to work, having lunch, and hanging out with their friends. I would never let anybody even come close to reading this novel, but again, I finished. I wrote two novels!

Year #3 (2008): I didn't fully outline a plot but I knew I had to plan out some kind of direction for my story because I did not want a repeat of 2007. I had good characters (based on people I knew in real life, which was probably the best thing I could have done) and a lot of funny scenes, but I had only planned out a basic, overall idea for the plot and I had trouble stretching it all the way to 50,000 words. Because of this, I wound up with a lot of silly and sort of random scenes for length. But again, I finished and was now a THREE-BOOK AUTHOR!!!

Year #4 (2009): Happy Day 3! This year I did so much prep work. I typed up a 10-page outline with every scene I planned to include and I also to decided change genres! I moved from realistic fiction alllllllllllll the way to children's fantasy (maybe because I just read The Golden Compass). The only thing I'm noticing is that my characters and my writing just aren't as strong as they once were.

Anyway we'd all LOVE to hear about your challenges and progress along the way. It's a crazy month!!!!

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