Friday, December 3, 2010

NaNo Round Up

So, my month of being a writer is officially over (whew).  I completed my objective of finished my novel by the end of November.  Approximately 70,000 words (didn't get an official count because it's divided in chapters, I got mad at it, see below, and didn't feel like compiling them), which, starting with 10,000 already, means I wrote about 60,000 words in 30 days.  And I don't think I ever want to do that again.

So, a few things I've learned:

  • Back up all your files.  Even if they tell you to back up your files and you scoff and think, "I don't need to back up my files, I won't lose them."  Back them up anyway.  (My files got corrupted, I managed to save them, but now they have no punctuation, quotation marks, or paragraph breaks.)
  • Outlining actually helps.  A lot.
  • When you have an inability to name characters and you suddenly find yourself with a character that needs a name, use a celebrity's name (Richard Gere made an appearance) or a ridiculous name that you may or may not choose to keep later (Dorcas got a lot of screen time simply because I liked typing it).
  • If you're writing historical fiction, research the time period first.
  • If your story is set in a particular part of the world you don't know anything about, get a map.  I still don't know where my characters were, they jumped from Maryland, to Virginia, to New York, to Pennsylvania, all within one scene.  (Or maybe they found a machine... nope, not writing Sci Fi, dang)
  • Be prepared to eat, dream, talk, think nothing but your story for 30 days.  It becomes an obsession.  I am to plot as Zombies are to brains.
  • Tying up loose ends from four or five or six subplots is actually harder than one might think.  I might have forgotten about one.  No wonder Herman Melville just started killing people off in Moby Dick.
  • Since NaNo is in November, allow wiggle room to accommodate Thanksgiving, a week of family in town, and a weekend long turkey comma.
  • Also allow wiggle room so you can take a week break from writing because you nearly tore your hair out when you almost lost all your files, without falling too far behind in your goal.
As much as I love having accomplished this ginormous task, I'll leave it to the professionals from now on.  You guys and gals have my deepest respect.

Happy writing!


Amy Tripp said...

Congatulations on finishing!!

It sounds like you had a hell of a November, so now you can smoothly segue into a frantic holiday season without missing a beat.

I actually did go from upstate NY (far north- like almost to Canada north) through PA and on to Virginia and Maryland once. In a day. On a bus. With more than a hundred fifth graders. And a grumpy bus driver. *sigh*

It can be done, but I woudn't recommend it.

Maureen said...

Well done Vickie! It's always such an accomplishment to finish a manuscript. One of the things I learned during NaNo was that deadlines are a pain in the ... you know where. I much prefer writing as I like, because frankly, the writing is the fun part. It's after the novel is completed that the really hard work begins.

At any rate, pat yourself on the back. Even though there seems to be a gazillion books out there, completing one is a rare and lovely thing.

Andrew Rosenberg said...

All excellent points. I hope you learned your lesson(s).

BTW, if you think writing is tough, try revision!
Congrats on winning NaNoWriMo!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! You went above and beyond the word count! Very impressive.