Tuesday, November 30, 2010

NaNoWriMo: 30 Days + 50,000 words = Winner!

Last weekend, I was a little more than 10,000 words away from reaching the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo. I buckled down and typed over 10,000 words in two days. It was the most I've ever written in such a short amount of time, and I'm surprised I feel so good about it still.

So, on November 28th, I finished the first draft of MISSING. It came in at 51,669 words.

I've learned a lot about myself as a writer by doing NaNoWriMo. For one, I am a plotter. I need my blurbs, outline, synopsis, character sketches, world building, and research ready for me to use before I write a single word in the actual novel. It was so easy to go down the line and write a scene. If I needed to look up what was in Sarah and Ted's apartment, I opened up my world building file and found what I needed. It cut down on thinking time and allowed me to write. For two, to some extent, I need to forget about writing rules when I write. For the most part, I write rather cleanly when it comes to grammar/spelling. The mistakes that are there are often typos, brain freezes, and other slips that come from a word-tired brain. I allow my characters to "look" or "be" or use that cliche. I know I'll fix all those in the next draft, but for now, I had to get the story out. If I don't allow myself that when I write a first draft of a novel, then I'll be stuck on chapter three forever. For three, when a new idea pops up while writing or the feeling of these characters, the plot, etc. changes, then I must go with it. True, the general plot didn't change, but more was added as I went or noted down to add in the second draft. Even the title of the novel changed mid-way through from SARAH'S NIGHTMARE to MISSING. For four, I must not despair that the novel wasn't as long as I hoped. I can add more and bulk it up in revisions.

MISSING has a lot of work that needs to be done before it is anywhere near polished. Soon, I plan to read through it and make notes on what I want to add and where. The rather crappy first draft is with my three critique partners (I love you, guys!), and I'm hoping for a general overview on the novel when they get a chance to read it.

For now, the novel will be put away, and besides the quick read-through, I likely won't get back to working on it until towards the end of next year or early 2012, since I need to revise/edit/polish my two previously completed first drafts of VIRTUOSO and THE PHOENIX PROPHETESS.

Overall, I say NaNoWriMo 2010 was a success. I have a brand new first draft of a novel that I'll get to play with and tweak and perfect in days to come.

Best of all, I have an idea for NaNoWriMo 2011. *grins*


Angie said...

Way to go! That is an incredible achievement. You should be proud of yourself.

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks, Angie! I am very excited to have my third completed (first drafts) novel in two years.