Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's That Time Again! NaNo Time!

In 2008 I got a crazy idea and decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. Now, until this point I'd only had a vague desire to write a book. I'd always been a writer of sorts, but more of a blogger, journaler, letter writer, and someone who used writing to solve problems. Never a Writer in the way that someone who sits down to write a novel is a Writer.

I also decided to write a YA novel. Why? Who the heck knows. I was teaching high school, and I had been ingesting the Twilight crack. I guess those reasons seemed as good as any. I took a plot element from a song on one of my favorite albums and on November 1st I decided to go to town on it. No outlining, no plotting, no planning. Just by the seat of my pants.

I won NaNo that year. By the end of the month I had about 54,000 words of a dual 1st person POV YA novel about...well, I have no idea what it was about. And it wasn't totally done. But I had something, and I won NaNo, and that was quite a big accomplishment.

Since then I have read over 250 YA novels. I have gone to conferences and started two blogs and met other writers and I have written and written and written.

And I've been working on the same story.

I had to totally trash that NaNo draft. It was horrible. Embarrassingly horrible. But I didn't trash the characters and I didn't trash the story and I rewrote it all from the very beginning. I skipped NaNo '09 and NaNo '10 because I wanted to make this one work. I rewrote it again. I added plots. I cut out a POV. I added and cut and changed characters. I outlined and outlined and wrote and wrote and revised and revised.

Now it's almost time for NaNo '11. Three years since I had my first seed of an idea for this story. Three years since I typed the first word (which is long since cut). Three years and three new starts and I'm finally, FINALLY almost done.

I really want to participate in NaNo '11. I have an idea. I have a partial outline. I will NOT make the Big Mistake of '08, which is wandering up to the keyboard and typing all willy-nilly with no plan. Because that mistake has taken three years to untangle. Three years of learning a TON about my process, that's for sure, but three years just the same.

I'm excited for NaNo '11, and I'm excited to take everything I have learned since NaNo '08 and hopefully come out of it with a working draft that I don't have to completely overhaul. And even if it is a hot mess, well, I'm sure November will be a fun month anyway.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo '11? Do you have anything planned out? Or are you just pantsing it?

21 comments:

  1. I did that once. I had about 10,000 words of nothing happening.

    That was the only time I tried NaNo and I failed.

    I don't think I'm doing NaNo this year since I have too much going on.

    Good luck with NaNo!

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  2. I do have a story simmering but I haven't decided if I want to go all out for the month of November. I'll definitely be on the sidelines cheering everyone.

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  3. Wow, what a crazy story Jess. It's so inspiring that you stuck with your story and your characters and took 3 years to make it right and make it work. I'm doing NaNo this year, I have been working on 2 stories this year. I have a brand new idea for NaNo, what method are you using for organizing your ideas? outlining? snowflake method?

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  4. Wow, I hope you can get that NaNo story published! I've never participated in NaNo. I've always been in the middle of a WiP when it comes around. Same thing this year, too. But maybe I can at least push myself to finish the draft in that time.

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  5. I was outlining a new book for NaNo, but now I'm not sure I'll have time. But you definitely need to do it! It's perfect timing too - send your book out, start a new one.

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  6. I have another story that's been simmering in my head, so I think NaNo will be the time to start.
    Good luck with yours!

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  7. I was thinking about doing it, since I have an idea and I think NaNo would be a good time to try it. However, I'm starting that writing class on October 31 so the timing isn't the best. Unless I could use my NaNo project for class, but I'm not sure how that will turn out! Good luck!

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  8. I haven't thought much about NaNo yet--I've always wanted to do it, but haven't had the time in previous years. Maybe this time I'll tackle something though!

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  9. I have never done NaNoWriMo before, but I plan to this year! Thanks for the tip on pre-outlining, I think its a fabulous idea! And hooha on having your novel ship-shaped up!

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  10. I've never done NaNo, but I did write a 70K manuscript in June of 2010, so I'm familiar with how it all goes down. I'd actually really love to do NaNo this year, but I think my time would be better served rewriting the novel mentioned above. As much as I'd love to start something completely new, I finally know what needs to be done to improve my rewrite, and I'm inspired to do it. Maybe next year...

    Good luck with your NaNo goals!

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  11. I think I will be trying it this year.

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  12. Go you!! I would love to do NaNo one of these years, but I'm NEVER in a good spot in the writing process. This year, I'd love to push myself to finish my WIP by the end of November, but we shall see :)

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  13. I'm pantsing Nano with a throwaway idea this year because I don't have time for the worldbuilding of the idea I actually LIKE.

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  14. I thought about doing NaNo this year. My oldest daughter tried it last year; I'm not sure how far she got. I have a couple of novel ideas and it might be a good opportunity to develop one of them to see how they go. HOWEVER... I have a novel I'm querying, a WIP, and my brothers are coming over from the UK for two weeks in November. Which means I'm doomed to fail! Maybe next year. All the best to those of you that do it!

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  15. I've never done NaNo before, but I'm thinking about attempting it this year if I can finish my current revisions by then. I've got an idea and half a plot written out. I also have a work trip from November 14-18, which may put a big wrench in my plans...

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  16. YellowTypingFiend - let's be friends! I do it every year, even if I rebel (or like Camp NaNo, spent the whole time revising something else and didn't write a single word)

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  17. I'm absolutely doing NaNo again! I did it for the first time in 09 and again in 10, and "won" them both. I appreciate my 09 book for what it was, my personal permission book. That awful book that told me it was okay to write it, even though it was all over the map. It was okay because I could only improve.

    I love my 2010 book and can't wait to really put the time and effort into it that it needs. In the meantime, I'm outlining and world building for my 11 NaNo and couldn't be more excited!

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  18. Yay! Go Jessica...I think you're going to rock NaNo this year! I love November for this very reason, even though I've never "won" NaNo. I posted about my plans for NaNo on my blog today, although I don't think I'm going at it in the most conventional way this year. It will be fun nonetheless!

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  19. After failing last year, I'm determined to do better this year! I've already begun brainstorming and outlining. I can't believe November is creeping up fast! Hopefully I do better this year than I did last!

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  20. That's awesome. Good luck! I've never participated but maybe someday when I have more time. I'm a slow writer so the idea of writing 50K words in a month seems really impossible!

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  21. No NaNo for me this year. While I would LOVE to do it, my insane business and crazy junk in life (which I may share with you privately later) prohibits me from doing it this year. I'm so super proud of you for finishing the novel and I'm glad that you have an attack plan for this year. You can do this!

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