Monday, November 28, 2011

What I've Learned from NaNoWriMo

So I've finished NaNoWriMo early, I had written my 50000 words by midmorning today. It felt like a real achievement! It's been hard work but I've been lucky to have had plenty of time to work on this and was determined from the start to try to finish early. So what have I learnt from the experience?

a) Although to date I have mostly written haiku, short poems and flash fiction, I have proven now that I can at least write enough words for a much bigger piece of work.

b) Just writing with the aim of reaching a given total word count is liberating, as it means you just write without worrying about the quality.

c) at the same time just writing like that means that I didn't get stuck on polishing the first paragraph to perfection only to find myself left with nothing to add to the one perfect paragraph (having said that, the first paragraph is probably the best paragraph in the novel!).

d) but oh, this isn't a novel. Not at all. It's a very rough first draft, which, with a lot of editing and polishing, may one day resemble something like a real novel that people might want to read. (So that's what I'll be doing over the next year or so!)

e) It's useful just to write through the plot dilemmas, in this draft I have characters talking about where they want the plot to go, at one point a character actually says she wishes the author could sort out a particular aspect of the plot (hang on a minute, maybe I should keep that! It could be a nice post-modernist twist to the novel!?)

f) I had always thought that I would find research so tedious it would put me off ever writing a novel but in fact I really enjoyed the research aspect. I think it would be more tedious for me if it was historic research where you need to get all the facts as accurate as possible. Given that my novel is speculative fiction set in the far future then I have a lot more freedom to do what I want with my research. (I've had great fun with extrapolating some elements of the contemporary world into the future!)

So now I'm going to catch up on all the research information I identified but never got the chance to read properly then I'll start looking at the 'novel' in a few weeks time and get it into some kind of decent shape.

And I won't keep talking about it, promise!

How was NaNoWriMo for you?

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