Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Nanowrimo Confession: An Unorthodox Strategy to 50,000

2011 marks the second time I've done Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). The first time was in 2006 and I barely sneaked over the 50,000 word goal...by exactly 18 words. I divided the entire piece in 'writing sessions' instead of chapters. That way I could see my progress from day to day and keep daily word counts straight. Each day, I picked up where I left off and just wrote what came to me. "The Silk Dragon" turned out to be a lot more coherent than I expected, especially at the end when I was grabbing at anything to keep going. That included kids' shows, mythology, and fuzzy yaks. Don't ask.

This year is a bit different. I have a starting point and an ending point, and the goal is to get from point A to point B. Yes, there is a (gasp!) plan. Like 2006, I've begun each day with a new OpenOffice document...so today's would be "Legacy of the Pearl Dragon 15.odt", with 14 other docs before it. Granted, the way that the story's progressed, that title will change in the next draft in December, but I stuck with it.

I'd planned a fantasy series several months ago, outlining it on Writer's Blocks, version 3. It was a grand plan, encompassing four fantasy lands based on real-life ancient civilizations, and a massive hero's journey and war. Of course, it got buried in the chaos of real life. At the beginning of November, it fit my ideas perfectly, so...

I write in 'snippets', scenes that jump around in time and place, so each day's writing is a hodgepodge of scenes that may/may not follow each other in sequence. That habit came out of jotting down ideas for scenes as they came to me, so I wouldn't lose them. The story also has a 'master document' where I cut and paste scenes in rough chronological order, so I can see where the novel's going and where it's been. 

Granted, there are some contradictory details, time goofs, wonky characterization, etc., but Nano is for writing, not editing. My inner editor has been in a padded room since November 1, ranting and raving, despite the luxurious accomodations. She'll be free on December 1, when I'm sure she'll return with a vengeance. I'll need an editor during that time, not during this time. So, Inner Editor will have to sit and cool her heels while the Muse decides to put in some overtime.

And I'm about 3,000 words shy of 30,000 as of today, November 15. I'm hoping to finally get this story told...then the process of paring and editing begins in December.


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