I took part in National Novel Writing Month for the first time this year. I didn’t quite manage to write 50,000 words, but I got to almost 35,000 and that is an achievement in itself!
I didn’t go into it expecting to win. I didn’t even believe I could win, what with work and a busy social life. Now that November is over and I have successfully survived my first attempt at NaNoWriMo I can honestly say that it’s not as difficult as it sounds. I’m sure I could have won if a few unexpected things hadn’t come up and I had been a little bit more focused.
(I will never regret the weekend I spent watching the Harry Potter films and making HP themed food and drink with my sister in law. That Polyjuice Potion cocktail was delicious!)
With the 15,000 words I had already written of my WIP before November started, I’m actually over 50,000 words into my first draft. At this rate, I expect to have my first draft finished by the end of the year. I know Christmas is coming, but I have a couple of weeks off over the festive period and I am really enjoying writing (almost) everyday. So, the one thing I will thank NaNoWriMo for is getting me into a writing habit.
I fell into the trap of editing as I go, but I think I’m going to end up with a pretty solid first draft as a result, rather than a mess of typos and plot holes, so fingers crossed all’s well that end’s well.
Then again, I may end up scrapping every single scene and rewriting the whole thing in the second draft. Who knows!?
NaNo was definitely an eye-opener, and a baptism of fire for me. I only started writing my first novel in the summer, and had outlined pretty well before November, and even written the first couple of chapters. NaNo forced me to outline even further, by listing 30 scenes that I needed to write so that every day I would have something to write about, rather than trying to remember where I was and where I was going. Thank the Better Novel Project for that pearl of wisdom! Christine has created a cheatsheet wth 30 scenes that are essential for every Hero’s Journey structure novel. This came in really handy when I was writing my list. This year, she has also created a cheatsheet with 30 steps for building characters and themes to help you plan and outline your novel and give your story more depth.
I’m really happy about where I am with my WIP now, everything is coming together and it’s starting to feel like a real novel. (Ssh, don’t jinx it!)
I’ll introduce you to my characters in my next post, they’re really coming into their own now and I want to dig even deeper and get to the bottom of who they are. So, we’ll do that next time!
If you took part in NaNo I’d love to hear how it went for you. Tell me about your WIPs!