Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo! I almost forgot!

Today is the halfway point for those of you currently participating in National Novel Writing Month!

Because life is a little too crazy already this year, I have taken 2012 off from NaNoWriMo for the first time since 2005. While I am certainly a little upset about it, as a long-time participant, I'm still happy to be celebrating the novel-frenzy fun with any of you who are writing a novel this month.

For those not in the know, National Novel Writing Month is a "fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing." The goal is to write a 50,000-word (or longer) novel by 11:59:59pm on November 30.

"Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." In November, you have permission to do a bad job and write only for the sake of finishing.

A little of my personal NaNoWriMo history:

Year #1 (2006): I was awesome at developing characters but terrible at keeping any kind of plot going for 50,000 words. The end product was mediocre (all things considered) but I wasn't about to go showing it off. Either way, I 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 went to work, had lunch, and hung out with their friends. I would never let anybody even come close to reading this novel, and I think I may have actually deleted it from my computer. However, on November 30th, I'd finished, and I was now a two-time novelist!

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): 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 decided to change genres! I moved from realistic fiction all the way to children's fantasy (maybe because I'd just read The Golden Compass and felt inspired). This was kind of fun and allowed a lot of creativity but was weird and kind of unnatural for me.

Year #5 (2010): This was a good year for NaNoWriMo. Even though my life seemed hectic, I had lots of writing time and, while I didn't create a masterpiece, I did an ok job in the end. Five time novelist!

Year #6 (2011): I took the same story idea from 2010's novel and completely re-wrote it, changing characters, scenes, setting, and developing ideas better and more deeply. This was probably my best novel of all, but around November 28th, I lost enthusiasm and had trouble wrapping it up and tying together loose ends. I started to feel bitter toward the novel and thus, with only two days left of NaNoWriMo, I called it quits.

If you're writing a novel for 2012, I'd love to hear about it! We're having a NaNoWriMo discussion at the library tonight at 7pm! Come down and talk about your struggles and successes! I'd love to chat!

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