Another NaNoWriMo has come and gone, and the month of November passed in a frenzy of writing and missed word count targets. Yet somehow I still managed to surpass the 50,000 word goal in 29 of the 30 days allowed for the task. Now, there are a number of things that stopped me from making the daily goal of 1,666.66 words on a regular basis, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from attaining the final goal.
You might think that 50,000 in 30 days is a lot to write in a very short period of time, and you’d be right. However, a lot of people fail in the task because they get disillusioned by failure to attain the daily goals. I rather suspect that this is partly because they don’t keep the overall goal in mind, and that was definitely my downfall the first year I tried to complete NaNoWriMo.
Last year I just kept writting, and hoped for the best. At the end of each day I wasn’t concerned with how many words I’d written, or how far short/over the overall total word goal for that day. This certainly made things a lot easier for me in terms of keeping the stress and expectations lower. In the end I actually managed to get to my final word count, but really wasn’t comfortable with the directions the plot took at the end of the project. Because of this the book was never finished, and felt very disjointed. Some events happened without being part of a logical progression, or happened in entirely the wrong places.
This year I cheated a little by making a completely fresh start on the book, and working in the materials I liked from last year without copying anything. One file became my ideas file, the other the book itself. I’m very definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer, and start with a basic premiss for the book, and then let the characters drive the direction it takes. This can be problematic when characters do something completely unexpected, like |spoiler removed|. This becomes even worse when it happens at a point in the story when you actually had an idea where the plot was going, and the characters don’t agree with you.
That’s the joy of writing the way I do, because it makes the book flow a little more naturally. This is also where the ideas file really shines. You won’t use every idea, and you might have to modify more than a few ideas as you work them in, but they might just save your plot. Rather than remove any ideas from the file, I simply mark them as used, discarded, no longer relevant, or of potential use later. But more importantly I have enough material to potentially finish the book this year, as long as I can find a suitable ending, as well as some additional materials that might make a start for next years book.
So here’s to a successful 2011, and looking forward to next year’s NaNoWriMo.