Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Status Update: NaNo Week 1

So endedth the seventh day of NaNoWriMo. And I am totally shocked to report that I'm ending the day with a word count of 20,121.

No two of my NaNoes have been alike.

Year One was the Adventure. I was a little terrified at the challenge. The story I chose was in a genre I'd never tackled before, and many times more plot-heavy than my usual tales (probably while I'm still mopping up after it!).  I did a lot of detailed preparation: timelines; family trees; and I hadn't done so much research and organization since my college days in the History department. Most important: I had a wonderful cheering section of friends and coworkers, many of whom I saw five days a week.  I made it through the month and made it beyond the 50K goal. It was exhilarating and exhausting.  And absolutely inspiring.

Year Two was the Purge.  I had a story I knew I reallyreally wanted to get started telling. My prep was a set of character sketches and a long list of bullet points for things I wanted to make sure to fit somewhere into the story somewhere. And I had a very loose timeline that I clarified for myself with a set of doodles that represented character relationships as of the milestone markers. I'd changed jobs, so my cheering section was remote. When my energies flagged, I'd think about the year before and tell myself I'd already proven I could do this.  December 1st found me quietly excited. I had fewer pages, but I'd still gone beyond 50K again and this time I had a number of pages that I felt truly proud of having written.

This year is the Improvisation.  As of October 15, all I knew was that I absolutely had to do NaNo again. The other two NaNo projects were dangling over me, yearning to get finished, but I'd been so distracted this year by publishing (a non-NaNo book) that I hadn't done much writing.  I knew that NaNo would be just the kick in the pants I needed. So I decided to start a sequel to unfinished book #1, on the theory that I'd have familiar characters to work with and that, along the way, I might come up with a few things to iron out some of the wrinkles in book #1.  I did some quick mind-mapping and thought I could see enough shape there to get me started on November 1st.  I'm mostly cheering myself on this year, though I do check in with a circle of NaNo participants who found me from a public G+ post.  It all seems so loose that I can't believe it's enough to get me through to the end. But I'm doing it. And this year, that was the entire point!

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