This was the third year that I’ve done NaNoWriMo. I think I learn something new about the craft of writing and about myself through my writing every year.
The first year it was all new and exciting and it was, in its entirety, a learning experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect or whether or not I was doing it “right”. I had an idea about what I wanted to write and I literally wrote by the seat of my pants.
I learned that I could write a book and have it be interesting enough to have my husband love it, who is an avid R.A. Salvatore lover and couldn’t get into any other books. Perhaps it was the story? I dunno. It made me feel good and accomplished.
The second year it was just as exciting, though not so much new. I had no idea what I was going to write until the day of and it was a struggle to make it to that 50,000 word mark without having to go back and rewrite certain parts. I still won, of course. But it was much harder and not as fun as the first time.
I learned that there had to be some level of knowledge and interest in the story beyond the romanticized ideals of the topic. It’s a fallen angel story centered on a complex idea that needed, and still does, much more work and planning than what went into it originally.
This year it was planned off and on since July while I toyed with ideas and concepts. I knew what I wanted to write but not how to get it to paper. So I did some research on outlining, played around some more, did more research, played around a little more, until I came to a thing called a story board. I know, they’re not a new concept, but this gal’s site that I visited was awesome in displaying how she did it and explaining her process. I wish I could find the site again. For some reason, some of my bookmarks have disappeared and hers was one of them. :(
Of all the things I researched and tried, I took what worked with all of them and made my own sort of plan (don’t blame me, I’m a Virgo). What resulted was a story that was so much easier to write. And though I did get “stuck” on the end, it was because I didn’t want it to end. And when it did end, I was sad and missed my characters something fierce.
I’m happy to say that I’m still a pantster but I’m also a plotter. I do both and though I’m more of a plotter now, than I was before. I learned how much better my ideas can be correlated into fiction and how much better those stories can become! I learned to like it and feel where the story was going to go and still be able to give my characters the room to make the story their own.
If you were following me through my posts, you’ll know that I did beat this year and completed sooner than I did the first year. I was told I’m a beast when it comes to NaNo and perhaps they’re right. Or I’m just weird. But when the words start coming out of me, it’s hard to stop. I’ve also been told that writing isn’t something that has a hard-fast, cut and dry method that has to be followed. It’s good to mix stuff up and experiment as the story allows.
So, that’s what I’m going to do. And keep learning. Cause that’s what I do.
Until next year, NaNoWriMo. Be prepared. >:)