And Camp NaNoWriMo, the final Camp of the year is finally over! Hallelujah!
Technically I’d did win Camp This month, but I had to reduce my goal significantly, so I really didn’t get any of my goals accomplished. Of course, I did write 12,500 words, which I wouldn’t have otherwise, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.
I’m half sorry and half relieved that NaNoWriMo is over this year. I’ve had so much fun this year and I actually won! Yes, that’s right, I hit 50,000 words, exceeding my personal goal of 30,000, making this my best NaNoWriMo ever but I’m not going to lie it has been exhausting.
Well, technically I should say my stories because things definitely did not go to plan. Originally I intended to write a high fantasy novel, but having only recently gotten into the genre I just was not prepared enough to carry it through. I was struggling to write those 1,667 words a day to the point where I just really didn’t want to do it and would put it off until 10 or 11 pm and then panic write so I could get the words in before 12.I’m sort of repeating what I wrote in my update post but I’m going to say it again.
I took the initiative and said you know what I have this and I’m going to write something else, anything else. So that’s what I did. I didn’t have a plan, or any characters or anything that I would usually have before I started writing, but I made it through. As I went I wrote down a handful of one sentence prompts for those days when I was a bit stuck and it worked. Yes, in the end probably 99% of my writing is probably classed as fan fiction but I had fun writing it and isn’t that what NaNoWriMo is all about.
A Lesson Learnt
If anything this year has reminded me that I can write, and that’s not something everyone can do. I learnt that, when I need to, I can write pretty damn fast and get those words done. Like I said, while this was my first time actually winning, it was also my most stressful year, and I was really struggling in that final week. But I made it. I won.
And That’s All Folks
And that, as they say, is that. Did you compete this year? Are you happy with how much you wrote?
Hold on to your hats because NaNoWriMo 2016 has begun! That’s right guys and gals, at this very moment I am attempting to write a 50,000 word novel. God help me!
This is going to be a super short post, for a change, because I don’t really have anything to say, I just thought that I should acknowledge that time is a-ticking on those daily word counts.
Of course I would love, love, love to be able to stand up on the 1st of December and say that I won NaNoWriMo, but I doubt that’s going to happen. Instead I am going o be pretty damn chuffed if I can say that I wrote 30,000 words during this month. I’ll still be aiming for the 1,667 words a day but I know there will be days when I don’t come near to that.
I’ve had a bit of an issue with my story, which hasn’t come as a total surprise. I hate it. I’ve never written fantasy before so I think the problem lies in my lack of world building. Either way I dragged myself kicking and screaming through four days worth of this novel when I realised that there was no way in hell I would survive the month. So, what did I do? I threw the novel out of the window. Not literally, one, because it’s written on my laptop,and secondly, because I need those words to count towards my final word-count. Instead I decided that as long as I write the 1,667 words each day, who acres if it’s not part of a complete novel. I’ve jotted down some super quick writing prompts mostly related to other little bits that I work on just for fun, some more in the vein of fan-fiction than others and hopefully this will see me through to the end of the month. I’ve decided that as long as I reach my personal goal of 30,000 I’ll be happy and who knows, maybe I’ll even reach that illusive 50,000. Stranger things have happened at sea.
So, good luck to me and if you’re taking part this year good luck to you too. If you have any questions about NaNoWriMo or about my writing process in general I will be more than happy to procrastinate and answer them instead of whatever I should be doing. And that goes for pretty much anything!
Are you taking part this year? Have you taken part in the past? Do you like to write in your spare time?
Recently I found a video on YouTube of Brandon Sanderson, one of my favourite writers, teaching a class in writing fantasy and sci-fi and I thought I would tell you about how I go about writing. I should probably point out the fact that i am not a ‘writer’, I write in my spare time and I love it but I have never been published, so whatever I say here is just from my personal experience.
Are you a Planner or a Pants-er?
If you’ve done NaNoWriMo before, this is one of the questions that will pop up on your screen. Before I started I had no idea. My experience with writing began and ended with me imagining a scene, be it descriptive or dialogue driven, and I would mull it over in my mind before finally writing it down. When it came to NaNoWriMo I realised that because of the time constraints I definitely was a planner. Give me all the plans!
How do I go about planning a story?
There are hundreds of author quotes telling you, or giving you advice, on how to plan, but the best advice I’ve heard is Brandon Sanderson’s lecture. Basically what he presses upon his class is the fact that not only is every writer different but every project is different. For instance, I’m a planner, as I’ve already said, and while last years Chapter outlines were very detailed and long, this year they’re much shorter. I didn’t specifically intend for this to happen, it just did, but it feels right.
Another way I like to plan my story, that’s perhaps a little bit more out of the box is through Pinterest. I find it helpful to be able to go onto my board and remind myself of what I’m trying to present visually.
The last thing that I try to do is put together some sort of playlist on iTunes that I’ll be able to write to. In 2014 I was writing a noir-style mystery, and so I listened to Rat Pack music. Last year was the year for the gritty thriller, and I found a Femme Fatale playlist on Spotify. This year my genre is fantasy, so my playlist is going to consist of lyric-less movie scores, I haven’t decided what just yet.
Go forth and write or begin to plan or maybe just think about it. The video I keep mentioning is HERE and it’s really helpful. Going forward I’d love to have some sort or writing group to work with, and I want to be much more vocal about NaNo both on the forums and away from the forums.
Do you like to write? Are you a planner or a pants-er?
The leaves are beginning to fall, the air is crisp and there’s a a definite and suspicious lull before the storm, which can only mean one thing; It’s October, NaNoWriMo 2016 will soon be upon us, and I need to get planning!
What is NaNoWriMo?
Well, I’m glad you asked. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel writing Month, is a challenge where you are supposed to write 50,000 words in the month of November, which is 1,667 words a day. The idea being that by the end of the month you’ll have the first draft, or maybe a partial first draft of your own novel. It’s a super fun thing to do, and not as hard as you might think, granted I’ve never actually finished.
My NaNoWriMo Experience.
So, as I said I’ve never actually completed the 50,000 word count, but I still had hell of a time trying. My first NaNoWriMo was during my first year of uni, in 2014, where I started on the first of November with nothing but a vague crime noir novel, most likely due to the fact that I was reading The Maltese Falcon at the time. I can’t quite remember what my final word count was, but I ended up spending more time planning that I did actually writing. I’d be very surprised if it even reached the 5,000 word mark.
Now, last year I didn’t intend to ever revisit the concept of NaNoWriMo, having come to the conclusion that it was not for me. Until, I got back to uni and found myself with a surprising amount of spare time during the month of October. I decided to start planning for NaNoWriMo using a story that I’d been toying around with for a good few years. Clearly I’d learnt the value of planning since the year before. Even though my story line was, and still is, very vague in places I finished my plan of 13 chapters in a week or two. Then I closed that document and did not look at it again until the first of November. What I didn’t want to happen was to get bored with my story or my characters. When it came to November I was flying though my novel. You already know that I didn’t reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, reaching around the 28,000 mark, but I realised that I didn’t actually care, because those were 28,000 words that I didn’t have the month before. My goal when I started was to do better than the year before and I succeeded by a mile.
What does this mean for me?
I do think that sitting down and forcing yourself to keep going with the same characters and the same storyline has made me a better, more determined written. Since last year anything that I do write tends to be much longer and word counts don’t faze me as much. I still think of one day in the middle of the month where I was ridiculously behind my daily targets but I just sat down, put Radio 4 on in the background and wrote 5,000 words in just one day. Since then I understand what chapter length really means, in terms of planning, the benefit of working with music and I’m much more confident in my own writing. Yeas, some parts are bad, but there are others that I’m really proud of. Above everything, I understand that a word count it not a restriction, but a goal, and that’s it’s okay to waste your words on something that might not seem all that important.
And here we are, ready to begin preparations for this year. I start with a vague idea, something I’ve played around with before and have a couple of little bits and pieces. My aim for October is to properly map out my story line and the way I do this is not very exciting. I’ll have a word document where I can write my story out in the most basic of ways, i.e. Scene opens in busy market place. X is walking along admiring the stalls, unaware that she is being followed by A. POV sticks with A as he follows her down the road… Sometimes when I start writing I won’t even refer back to these chapter outlines but it means that if I’m ever stuck for what can happen next I always have an idea. I also like to put together a board on Pinterest where I can fanciest my characters, or set the mood of the location, or keep track of quotes that encompass the feel I’m aiming for. Is my goal 50,000 words? Of course! But, so long as I can beat my personal best it’ll be a great NaNoWriMo!
What about you, have you done NaNoWriMo before? Are you planning on trying this year? If you are, feel free to add me as a writing buddy, you can find me under Miss Wonderly.