Things I learned from NaNo 2016

Now that Nanowrimo is officially over, you’d think I’d want to not even hear the word for the next thirty days. Instead, I’ve been pondering it, lol.

Things I learned this year:

  • Plantsing is fun. I had no plot, no characters, and it took me the entire first day to figure out what I was going to write, which was fucking scary. It took off from there, though, and it was really fun to write. By the end of the first week, I knew the plot, but didn’t write it out. It was freeing, but I know that if I didn’t write out plot ideas, I’d eventually forget them; not fun.
  • I stole from other stories (mostly mine, lol) to shore up gaps. I named my main characters after some of my favourite book characters so I had a mental image for how my characters would behave/look. I grabbed concepts from my own stories (technically I wasn’t using them anyway, right?) so my characters had things to do.
  • Finishing a story feels weird. I know where the story goes next; but as it stands, it’s done. I feel odd, like I should be doing the next story of it already. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s only 50,000ish words; I’m used to my stories taking twice that to reach the climax. Of course, I do have a couple of sections that didn’t get written; I realized certain areas were too thin, and needed more, but didn’t want to backtrack during NaNo. And there might be one extra scene to throw in at the end… so it’s 95% done, lol.
  • I still get a lot of words written with sex scenes. This is good for NaNo, but extremely discomforting when your kids ask why they can’t read your story.
  • While I was trying to pick a plot, I ended up really advancing several of my more vague story ideas. They may not be written, but now they have a concrete shape. Nothing works better for the creative process than desperation!
  • Working with a rather free-form plotline, and succeeding,¬† has reinvigorated my desire to write. I am going to try and start having regular writing nights, maybe three a week. I’m terrible at daily writing; I burn out too quickly. But three a week might just be doable.
  • Writing buddies are necessary. During Nanowrimo I’m competitive enough to keep pushing my word count if others are ahead of me. We also had local meetups, and being able to chat about the story as it progressed really helped. I got some very excellent ideas from the brainstorming, and hopefully didn’t bore them too much with my own suggestions. The locals have decided to do a monthly critique group, which might just help keep me going.

Nano, Nov 8 – 15

The 8th – I finally get in the flow. Nothing much happens, but I sure write about it. I finally catch up. It helps that I wrote at work during lunch; who needs to get out and go for a walk?

The 9th – Another excellent day. I knew where I wanted to go, and actually managed to get there.

The 10th – I wrote one sentence. ūüė¶

The 11th – I made up for screwing around on the 10th, and wrote enough for both days. A lot of it made me cringe, but it got written.

The 12th – Lots of snippets rather than a linear progress. Doesn’t matter, I made the day’s word goal.

The 13th РI finally got to another section I was looking forward to. Maintaining pace, yay!

The 14th – same section, still having fun. Still on track for word count.

The 15th – still in this section, am thinking editing is gonna suck, but oh well. Nano!

 

Nano, Nov 2 – 7th 2016

So, where did I leave off. Right.

The first day of November, I wrote next to nothing. I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell I was going to write about, so that by the time I actually wrote anything, midnight had passed and half of it didn’t count till the next day.

The 2nd – Everything I wrote on the 1st? It truly sucked. It didn’t hit the right note. So I ignored it (never delete during nano) and started over again. Much better.

The 3rd – I still wasn’t happy with what I’d written, but what the hell. The one joy of pantsing is ignoring everything that you’ve already written and moving on. I wrote a conversation. I’m also 2500 words behind.

The 4th – I rewrote the conversation. Aargh. Stupid conversations! But finally, wheels of plot are chugging. Add in a descriptive scene and I’m only a thousand words short!

The 5th – Annd I’m behind again. There’s nothing like ending a sweeping scene and having no idea what comes next. I just churned out words, slowly and painfully, but I wasn’t going to let the story die.

The 6th – I almost caught up to the 10k mark! I introduced a new character, lots of fun, and a sweeping dramatic background. Basically, I gave myself a huge amount to write about, so I did.

The 7th – Trudging again, but not as badly. Still behind on the daily word goals, which is really annoying, but not the scary ‘I’m thousands of words behind, I’m ready to cry’ sort of behind.

Whoops

I kept meaning to post about my nano progress, but I kept putting it off. I really am nano’ing. So I’m just going to post this and throw together a few more writerly posts about how it’s been going later today. I swear, today!

Nano 2016 – Nov. 1

So I haven’t been posting about all the nano prep I’ve been doing because there was nothing to post about.

I kept picking a plot, and then abandoning it, over and over again. Dithering over what I wanted to write, right up until almost midnight last night. I couldn’t bear to be up and unable to write, so I had a last bit of Halloween chocolate and went to bed, still without a story.

Today at work, I took another look at my list of story ideas, not quite in despair, though I did visit a few plot generators (not overly helpful at the moment). I gave up on the plotted stories and ran through the ones without any real depth, and finally, one peaked my interest.

Or rather, I took the idea and shifted it a bit, let it roll around in my head till something started to take shape. I’ve been feeling a lot distracted, lately, and kind of gloomy, so I picked one that seemed to fit.

So for good or for ill, I’ve got an idea for Nano. No real plot, vague character ideas, and only a bit of clue about where the story should go. Not the way I like to go into November; not even a little bit! I hate pantsing, and yet that’s what I’m doing. Letting the story do it’s own thing, and screw the elements of proper¬†story telling.

I’ve started writing, and am very much behind, thanks to the lack of an outline combined with trying to feel my way along. Still, it could be worse; I could be stuck with full out writer’s block and staring at an empty screen.

 

Brainz, brainz….

I’m in desperate need of a functional one.

I haven’t been posting again, mostly because I can’t figure out what the hell I want to write this year. The stories with complete plot lines aren’t sizzling for me, and while I’ve had a plethora of plotbunnies hit me in the last week (okay, only 3, but that’s still a lot for me), they’re all just vague concepts at this point.

It’s tempting to pants it this year, but I already know that I can’t actually do that (oh the bitter failures). Wah, I just want to find something, get organized, and start typing at the stroke of midnight next Tuesday!

Only six more days till I have to start this party, and I have no idea what I’ll do!

Making a List – Nano Prep

I’ve narrowed down my nano choices to seven! Out of the dozens I have, that’s pretty decent. So far, three are urban fantasy and four¬†are standard fantasy.

Currently I’m working through each, examining character motivation and story structure, just to see which gives me the biggest tingle. Cuz with NaNo, tingle counts for a hell of a lot.

I really wish I could bear to pants it. Sadly, my need to control all the details is far too strong.