Thursday, December 2, 2010

NaNo Is Over! Sanity Can Return!

Snow Storm, March 2009

The 50,000 words in 30 days is over! Though I only made 20,250, I learned a lot.  I also view this experience as a success rather than a failure. 

This is the first time in my writing life I have written that many words towards a novel.  I have written short stories up to 4,000, but never 20,250 words toward a story!  I now have a good first draft toward a book, let me say that again, a book.  I chose a story, I actually sat down and began writing toward a novel with the same characters, a beginning, almost a middle and an end. That in itself is a miracle.  Up until I typed the first word I still wasn't sure what to write about.  Do you know, once I sat down and started writing it was as though words flowed, like I had them all stored up and now that the bucket was tipped over, they came pouring out! 

Now, here are some of the things I learned.....It takes me about four hours to write 2000 words or 500 words an hour.  It's very difficult for me to just write, I find that I mentally edit what I've written.  I also had a problem just writing without verifying if it was real.  If a memory didn't feel right, I stopped and Googled or pulled out pictures and notes.  What I'm writing about is a period in my life.  I took this time, fictionalized it, added a murder and made it into a story.  I have always heard that a person should write about what they know, which is what I did, with modification.  Because of this, there were certain episodes, that I pulled out pictures to be sure of scenery and personal information.  While this is good it also can slow a person down because I'm mentally visualizing people and things that happened forty years ago.

Two other important facts I learned, don't plan any other events during November if you're planning to do the NaNoWriMo!  I lost a week carrying out a project at my church.  I won't do that again, I'll plan that for another month, because once you're behind, it's hard to catch up! The second fact is that for those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving, all writing must be done by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Once family and socializing begins, it's hard to find a place to write or even worse, making yourself write! Especially when being around people you haven't seen in six months to a year.

Once I knew I wasn't going to make the 50,000 by the 30th, I started writing as though I would publish my story.  I now have a good first draft.  The fact that I'm over the overwhelming feeling of what to write about and that I have a beginning and now headed to the middle encourages me to sit down and continue as I know what direction to take and basically which direction my novel is going. Though I found out that ideas, characters and situation will pop up from nowhere. 

How about y'all, did any of you do the NaNoWriMo?  What did you gain from this experience?

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