Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Do You NaNo?

And by that I mean do you plan to participate in the once-yearly National Novel Writing Month held in November? I’ve participated for two years in a row, and have to say, it’s a blast. Not only does it give me the freedom to write crap (which I do, but which is also much more easily fixable than a blank page) but it also forces me to pound out a rough draft in record time, without allowing me to think too hard about plot.

For a pantser like me, it’s completely exhilarating. And absolutely fulfilling. Because normally, it takes me a lot longer to complete a manuscript—even a rough draft. I just have too many distractions in my life, and pushing myself hard for one month of the year helps narrow my focus just long enough to accomplish something seriously awesome in a short amount of time.

So yes. I NaNo. And yes, I’ve figured out that it goes a lot smoother when I do some advance planning. And by some, I mean a small amount of plot structuring and some character developing.

This month I have goals to:

a) Write an outline that consists of maybes. (Because even a pantser needs a page of ideas that tell her where the story might go if I get stuck.)

b) Figure out my main characters, who they are, what they want, and why they can’t have it. (Because if I do that, maybe I won’t need the stinkin outline.)

c) Decide on a general location where this story might be set—even if it’s fictional. (Because that just makes it easier to see in my head.)

d) Figure out how in the heck I’m going to fit writing an entire 50,000 word novel into November this year, because my schedule’s already looking INSANE. This might require making a writing schedule that works around everything else. *gulps* Can we say challenging?

Writers: I recommend you try this once-a-year exercise dubbed NaNoWriMo, if for no other reason than to stimulate your brain.

Non-writers: Is there something you do once a year which stimulates you into temporary mass productivity? Tell me about it.


Kelly Polark said...

I'm going to Nano for the first time this year. It scares me, but yet I feel great about getting so much done! I'll be outlining this month and fleshing out characters this month too!
Good luck!

Carolyn V said...

I'm doing Nano for the first time too. I need to get that outline done. Whoop!

Riv Re said...

I NaNoed last year. Epic Fail. I only got in around 10k. NaNo is really poorly timed for me, because I have midterms early November. Last year my computer died, contributing to the fact that I hand-wrote a lot...really slowly.
I've got a new idea though, one that just popped into my head. And I have a computer this time.:) (Though I might go with YWP, since I can change the word count...)

Good luck!

Meika said...

I can't decide whether I'll do NaNo this year or not. All my common sense says no, but the rest of me is screaming yes. Why, oh why can't I say no to NaNo?

Nichole Giles said...

Because it's a challenge, Meika! You should try it, just to see if you can do it.

RivRe, that's 10,000 more than you had at the beginning of last November, yes? Still a win in my book.

Go Carolyn and Kelly! I'll cheer you on. Go, go, go!