Thursday, November 13, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014--Week Two

design by Elizabeth Doyle
NaNoWriMo is in full swing. This is my second year. Last year, I ended up with a historical fiction piece that I feel really good about (It's third in the queue for rewriting right now). This year, I'm writing a young adult magic and friendship novel. My working title is Rat Jones and the Lacrosse Zombies.

For those who haven't done it. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's November every year. The idea is that you write 50,000 words in one month.  It amounts to a little less than 2,000 words a day to make it on time. People either love it or hate it.

This year, I'm doing both.

What's great about NaNoWriMo is that it keeps me from overthinking things. I can't stop and research a lot. I have to keep moving forward even when I'm not at all sure what might happen next. That can be really good for a story, giving it a sense of spontaneity and leaving room for the characters to surprise me.
What's bad about NaNoWriMo is exactly those same things. It's not my natural process to barrel through, ignoring flaws and plowing forward. I'm a pantser, which means that I don't outline or heavily plan before I begin writing. But, I also am not comfortable with what people call "the vomit draft." I do what I call a "discovery draft." I write, just following the characters and story until it makes itself clear. Once, I know where it's gong, I do more planning.

I also edit and write at the same time . . .circling back and adding scenes to support a subplot when it comes up, going back and changing a detail as soon as it changes.

For where I am in my writing life right now, though, I'm still glad I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. A little success has put more time pressure on things, and it feels really good to set aside this one month for exploring a brand new idea. It'll give me a mental break from the world I've been creating for Going Through the Change and its sequels and let me come back to that sequel with fresh eyes.

Sometimes, you just need to play with some different imaginary friends.


  1. I'm right there with you. As it turns out, writing a sequel for NaNoWriMo is a bad idea. I find it constrains my thinking too much because I have to make at least some attempt to align it with the first novel. Live and learn.

    It's funny, though. Last years NaNoWriMo turned out so well...

  2. Yeah . .. I have sequels to work on, too. But I chose a new book for NaNo. I think the process works better for brand spanking new ideas that you haven't developed yet.