Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

I'm getting excited about Nanowrimo again already. The challenge takes place over the month of November, but I would like to have a basic plot outline in place before I attempt it again.
For anyone who doesn't know about Nanowrimo, it is basically a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, November. It's a completely insane thing to do, but I think we have to do insane things sometimes, just to keep our sanity. You can read more about Nanowrimo on their website.
Last year was my first year. I had no idea what I was doing, and even less idea what my story was actually about. I planned a little in the last few days of October, but exhausted all my ideas by the end of the first week, leaving me stranded in the middle of a story with no end.
Here's basically how it went for me last time.
Week 1: I had a basic outline of at least the beginning of my book, I was following the outline but still had creative freedom. I was ahead of my word count goals, I was having a blast, and I had apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes for how my story would turn out. Week one was great.
Week 2: I ran out of my plot points and didn't really know what was happening next, but I didn't panic yet. I kept writing, this week barely keeping up on my word count goals, but I was still pretty confident. When I didn't know what to have my characters do, I had them go on a long trip, always a good option when you're stuck. That trip turned into the catalyst for the rest of the book's plot.
Week 3: Week three I just fell further behind. I didn't know what to do, and I think week three is when I started ''cheating." I would quote all the lyrics to a song, or work in a story my sister was writing at the time by having a character write a story.
Week 4: Despair. I was so behind on my word count goals, and I was stuck. Instead of writing 2,000 words in one night, I was writing 200 before giving up. I knew I was going to lose, and after all that excitement, it made me sick to think about.
On the last day of November, I decided I couldn't give up. I sat down at 9:00 in the morning and wrote about 16,000 words before finishing my story with a word count of exactly 50,000. I finished at around 11:00, only an hour before the month ended.
That was incredible. As hard as it was, it really made all the despair of week four worth struggling through. Hopefully I won't have to do that again this year. But if I do fall behind, run out of ideas for my plot, get stuck, and resort to sending people on lengthy car trips again, at least this time around I know that it will work out, and I can finish it.

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