Thank you for being here, Dale! And good luck in the rest of the contest!
Thanks to Cynthia for inviting me to join you here again today. It’s always a pleasure, particularly as we’re discussing one of my favourite events – NaNoWriMo!
I see the Internet is abuzz with both good and bad comments about this annual Write a Book in a Month event and although, I’m not big on controversy I am big on doing what works for you.
NaNo works for me.
Why? For many reasons. Let me explain. NaNo for me is a challenge – not against everyone else, but against the amount of work I set FOR myself. I’m a fast typist and a fast writer (no they are not the same thing) and I love to see what I can do. I’ve done NaNo for several years and I’ve won the challenge each time. That’s not the point. The point is that I set the goal and I reached the goal. Finished.
Regardless of how you view NaNo, it does create a lot of enthusiasm and ‘get up and go’ energy. What you do with that energy is up to you.
Two years ago, I finished my 50,000 words a little early and continued to add to my novel. Last year though, I blew through a barrier I hadn’t even known existed until I butted up against it. I wrote a complete first draft of 93,600 words. I was amazed at how the book went down on paper. I was an all out pantzer with only the characters’ names and occupations and a two sentence blurb in my head as to who and what was going to happen. Yes, it took several drafts this last year to pull it into shape and yes, there is one final one to go. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth doing. As a matter of fact, that manuscript has turned out phenomenally well.
My reasons for participating two years ago were to finish in decent shape at the end of the month. Done. Last year I wanted to stretch and see what I could do. Done – and now I understand the limits I had placed on my own abilities. This year, well it’s not like I can sit back and not try to repeat last year’s success – right? So I set a daily word count of 3,000 for 30 days to make 90,000 again. As of today I haven’t missed hitting that mark. If fact, I’m just over 46,000 at the halfway mark. So all’s good right?
Except for two things. This year I went into the NaNo process with some story architecture behind me, compliments of Larry Brooks and his very helpful website. I’m still learning but the adaptations had made it easier for me to hit the high points in the story and whip past them to the next major point. Is this making it easier to do NaNo – No. Will it give me a cleaner first draft when I’m done? I hope so. According to Larry it will, so I’m willing to go on a little trust here.
The second thing I have changed this year and I don’t know how successful I’m going to be with this addition to my work load, is I am printing off what I have written during the week and am redlining all of it over the weekend and inputting the changes as I move forward. This might seem unnecessary at this stage, for me however, it helps to keep the various threads running through the story. Then if I drop one, I can catch it and fix it right away and it helps me to keep my characters in…well… in character! I’m not naive enough to think this changes the story from a first draft to a finished draft because if doesn’t. What it does do is help me make as a clean and as accurate a first draft as I can.
That’s what I mean about challenging myself. The choices I make that are right for me are not the same choices that are right for you. They aren’t supposed to be.
Don’t kid yourself. Finishing your NaNo novel does not put you up on the NY Times bestsellers list! However, it does make you a winner in so many ways!
For me it works! How about you. Do you NaNo? Do you enjoy it? Hate it? Are you participating this year and if you are – how are you doing? Are you on track? Or are you so far behind you’re considering quitting? Or have you blown the competition away and have started your second book? Yeah, I’m kidding on the last one! Or do you stay as far away from us nutcases during this time as you can?
Posted in Latest News on August 8th, 2010 by Cynthia Eden
While I was at RWA, I was thrilled to receive two Prism Awards at the FF&P party (the Gathering). I won a Prism for best dark paranormal romance (IMMORTAL DANGER) and for best novella (In the Dark from the anthology, BELONG TO THE NIGHT). Thank you so much to all of the FF&P judges! My lovely awards are now sitting in a place of honor on my bookshelves. Every time I look at them, they make me want to write more! And, yes, dang it, I got teary when I accepted the awards.