I’m on the downhill slide of my 3rd Nanowrimo attempt. Less than 10,000 words to go. On a good day I can do 6000 words in one wild frenzy of typing. Hopefully I can distribute those 10,000 out to the rest of the month and make ’em count.
Writing long-form always seemed like something I couldn’t do. Then two years ago I just said to hell with it, and signed up for Nanowrimo. I had no idea what I was doing, no plan, no outline, I just started typing. The first paragraph seemed pretty good. After that I found some characters and a basic idea of what might happen.
By the end of my first nanowrimo experience I didn’t want to touch my novel again, ever. It was crap. I had no clue what was involved in writing the novel until after I was done. It needed a plot, sub plots, character development, character interaction, conflict, tension, drama. It lacked most of that. But how could I know until I tried?
This year I recognized a lot of the problems I had with my first attempt and tried to address them out of the gate. I found a big problem solved by introducing most of my major characters as soon as possible. That way they had a chance to find their place within the plot and establish their relationships with each other. This, I have come to understand, is really the meat of a story, not the characters physical movements and actions within the setting. That’s just there to help illustrate the complex relationships the characters have.
With less than 10,000 words left to go to meet the 50k word count goal by Nov. 30 I’ve seen my plotlines and character interactions hit and miss. They’re more or less approaching the finish line. I don’t know who’s going to walk across or how yet, but I think I’ve made something I can work with in the future. Doing this year’s nanowrimo has also encouraged me to take another look at my first attempt from two years ago and give it a second chance. I think there’s more stuff in there than I really gave myself credit for. It just needs a lot of polishing to reveal.
I really appreciate Nanowrimo for helping me learn about the art of long-form fiction, plot, characterization, and dialog. The more I press on the more I learn and I intend to keep pressing.