Despite my best efforts, I managed to eke out 50,399 words to “win” National Novel Writing Month. I’m not sure it was a good idea.
Part of the problem, as I’ve mentioned before, is that NaNoWriMo requires a level of seat-of-the-pants writing that, after a point, becomes useless. Now, part of this was my fault, as I chose to continue writing a work in progress. which meant I was doing pure free-writing on something that had been planned.
You can see a clear demarcation in the book between “gave thought to this” and “Run, Forrest, Run!”
I suspect that if I had just sat down and started writing from scratch, the process would have been easier, albeit a lot less coherent. (Not that it’s very coherent now.)
I ended up with repeated passages, lots of under-description, lots of over-description and the entire last third of the whatever-you-call-that mess is random quotes, random scenes and bits of dialogue. I included back story that was unlikely to make it into the final draft. I also included notes about scenes I needed and things I needed to remember. “Protagonist (not his real name) would try to figure out X’s location the week before her death.” This seems like basic stuff, but it took me 30 days and 50,000 words words to realize it.
November is also, even for us in Japan, is not a good month to attempt something like this. I’ve got school functions for the girls, karate tests, final school projects to mark and have to make two final exams. In the USA you’ve got Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s almost as if the creators of NaNoWriMo wanted you to prove you are a writer by forcing you to write in the worst conditions possible. (Next year’s NaNoWriMo: NaNoWriMo on icy spikes). It’s all got the feeling of a double-dog dare followed by “You wanna be cool, dontcha? Well, dontcha?”
I did find that I had better luck writing sections by hand then entering them into the main file later in the day. (Of course, my handwriting was an issue but only a small one.)
If I do it again next year I’ll do one of two things. 1) I’ll start 100% from scratch and see what happens. Twice now I’ve tried to complete works in progress and had mixed results. (Last year I stopped after three days and 3500 or so words). 2) I’ll do the 30 days in October and post the results in November.
Oh, I also won’t have a daily blog to worry about (maybe just a twice or three times a week blog).