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NaNoWriMo07: the survivor's memoirs, vol. 2
Since it's almost Christmas already, I might as well try to finish writing this up...
So, it's November the 1st, and I have the following:
* chapter-by-chapter outline of my story
* a map
* stylesheet with detailed notes on every chapter
In the morning of November 1st, I created a new MS Word document, entitled it "Totally Awesome NaNoNovel 2007", and typed the title of the first chapter - which I immediately added to my wordcount. Then I typed the first sentence, the next sentence, and so on, until I stopped to think - and to add those sentences to the wordcount. And... this is basically how my writing looked like. Typing, adding to wordcount, typing, adding to wordcount, etc. Even if I had only ten words written, I would still add them, look at how many words remained until the day goal, then added the next words - hopefully more this time - until I reached 1,666. And once I went past 1,666, I got the wind in my wings, and it usually felt pretty easy to get to 1,700, then to 1,800 - and when I had 1,800, I felt tempted to reach 2,000 (which I often did.)
* It was always the most difficult to get myself to write every day. However, once I began to write, and began to add new words to the wordcount, I usually did pretty well.
* A good idea which I borrowed from somebody is to never finish writing with finishing a scene. I would try to write at least two paragraphs of the next scene - and then, on the following day, it would be much easier for me to pick up the thread.
* The first days, when I was still enthusiastic about the whole thing, are good for writing well above the wordcount, and writing a lot then actually makes it possible to write less later in the game. The weekends are also good for going over two, or even three thousands.
* Not writing anything on a given day, even if I'm above the goal - is not a very good idea. (It's what Vimes says in Thud! (paraphrasing): when you're five minutes late, you will make excuses to be ten, fifteen minutes late. When you have missed out one day, it will be more difficult to write on the next day, and so you will make excuses not to write.)
* Although, and let me be honest here, writing every day is not sunshine and roses - especially not when you have also a shitload of stuff to do for college. Personally, I just tried to finish all the college stuff before 8-9 pm, and then write - but to write every day, no matter how tired I felt.
* I do not edit, though mainly because besides getting to 50,000 words, I want to finish writing; and while editing can up my wordcount, it will stop me on my way to the finish.
* I try not to stop and think about some word, or a phrase - I just type the simplest thing that comes to mind, and resolve to take care of it later.
* At some point - 15,000 words? 20,000? - I stop to be able to have the whole thing in control. Before that, I know (more or less) what is going on, I recall some details, I take care of the style. Afterwards, I thank God for my outline, because without it I wouldn't know what to write. (This is also why I write chronologically; otherwise I would have no idea what to put my hands into at this point of writing.)
* Also, around 20,000 words the moment comes when I realize that the whole thing just sucks.
* And it probably kinda does suck. So 20,000 words is when I begin to repeat to myself, THIS IS JUST THE FIRST DRAFT. IT'S ALRIGHT. THE REVISIONS WILL MAKE IT BETTER.
* And so it goes until 50,000.
I guess that my conclusion, and advice for winning NaNo, would be: just write. Don't worry about the style, the vocabulary, the mistakes, the plotholes, whatever - just write. An outline may help, especially when you (as do I) see NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to write a story, a novel, that you would otherwise have no external motivation to finish. Slight falling behind is not the end of the world, though I prefer to stay above the word goal. And finishing is a lot of fun, even though it means that the dreaded EDITING days should be happening quite soon.
So. This would be about it. Thoughts? Comments? Questions?