Hey! I thought I’d pop in and say hello! If you’re a writer and you’re participating in NaNo 2016, drop a comment and share your word count! We’re on Day 2! I’ve already got over 11,000 words written. Admittedly, I had a lot of the plot worked out and some rough draft text done…could not hold off starting that until November 1 or I’d have lost the flow, and as you probably well know–when you get in the zone, STAY IN THE ZONE!
Anyway, I just completed a HUGE project at work, it’s near the end of the day, and I thought I’d pop on the interwebs for a bit and see just what exactly 50,000 words adds up to when it comes to novels. For the record, it’s roughly 200-250 pages. I think mine’s going to be more than that because at this point, I have no intention of stopping at 50,000 words. That’s not really the point of NaNo anyway. What is the point? For starters, the point is just simply to WRITE!
I found a great article (*link at the end of the post) and as soon as I read this excerpt, I knew I had to share it here on my writing blog:
NaNoWriMo, then, did not shave time off of the process of writing my novel. So why bother with this hectic November ritual at all? I’ll explain.
Many writers, myself included, suffer from a gnawing perfectionism that can, at its worst, torment us over the placement of a single comma. Forget completing a first draft; perfectionists have trouble completing even a paragraph. NaNoWriMo forces us to ignore our incapacitating inner critic and keep going. The genius of NaNoWriMo is that it obliges us to (temporarily) lower our standards.
In the article, the author explains that even though she completed her first NaNo novel in 2007, it wasn’t actually published until 5 years and 15 drafts later. The excerpt above, though, is what I wanted to share because I know that I often have trouble motivating myself to write, and even more often, I get so frustrated when things aren’t coming out “perfectly” that I lose momentum, push the projects aside, and then have trouble finding my way back to them.
In this instance, in my case, it actually worked to my advantage because the NaNo novel I’m working on was sort of a perfect storm of sorts. I have written at least a half dozen stories going back about 20 years in the same genre (post-apocalyptic fiction), but I could never actually complete anything. A few weeks ago, when I started thinking about this year’s NaNo, I started reading through some of those stories–looking at my characters, my plots, my settings–and I started playing What If with myself:
- What if I took this character and added her to this story?
- And what if I took this story and made it the prologue to this one?
- Oh, and over here I’ve got this made-up fanfic character with an interesting personality who doesn’t really fit anymore in my Supernatural fanfics…what if I stuck her in this story over here and did this?
Then, in the same vein, I looked at my fanfic stories and started wondering why they were so much easier to write than my own stories and realized a couple of things:
- the world’s already there;
- some of the characters are already there;
- I know and love these characters
So. Looking back at my new story, there’s my world, but these characters I’d created. I didn’t really know them…so I Googled their physical descriptions and found people to represent them in my mind’s eye…then created Twitter accounts for each of them and had them start tweeting each other. It wasn’t much; a few Tweets and I had their personalities in my head.
But now–sure, I’m 11,000 words in, but my book is a mess. The story’s there, the characters are there, but I have a lot of holes that I need to fill in–not holes in the story (I know exactly where the story’s going), but holes where I’ve put placeholders of what’s going to happen in that spot so I can go back and write it later since I’m on a freakin’ roll in another part of the story.
NaNo isn’t a miraculous “write-like-mad-for-30-days-and-publish-a-book-on-Dec-1” kinda thing. It’s more of a reminder to us as writers that sometimes the best way to get it done is to just do it–screw the formatting, screw the order, screw the punctuation, spelling, and grammar (totally hurts even typing that…), to hell with the flow and the neatness and the research (there are notes in my text to myself like this: RESEARCH 19TH CENTURY BATHTUBS, FOOL!).
To be a writer, sometimes you just have to write, and screw the “right” or “wrong” of it. THAT is what the point of NaNoWriMo is.
*Excerpt above from Doing 50,000 Words in 30 Days