Friday, December 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

It’s now into the first week of December, what does this mean?  It means most people are coming down from their Thanksgiving holiday and ramping up for the holiday to come and the New Year.  For some it means they just finished the month of November and what comes with it, NaNoWriMo.  National Novel Writing Month!  50k (words) on one project all to be written in one month, for some that is easy…for others it is reason to pull their hair out and spend all night starring at a computer screen or notepad trying to reach their daily goal. 

First feel I should point out my own history with NaNo, this was my sixth year participating in the event.  Twice a winner, 2006 a Fantasy Novel I am still tinkering with (2 of my unsuccessful attempts were in fact the start of a 2nd and 3rd book in this same series) and worked quite exclusively on during 2011 leading up to NaNO (it now sits at 90k and about ¾ done for a rough draft).  So I do plan on one day finishing it and after my experience this year I may have a better idea of just how to go about doing that.

2010 a Fantasy/Horror novel…that just shows how twisted and in the gutter my mind can be and was during the month…it hasn’t been touched since. Three times unsuccessful going into this year.  One of those three attempts was so off I don’t believe I even broke 2k due to real life being in the way. 

Going into the 2011 attempt I did something different, I never did with previous years.  I mean I went into past years with a general story and direction, but this year I went into it with a full on outline.  Full character details (even though there were several new additions during the month), even going as far as having a general idea of clothing the MC would wear during what scene.  I obsessed over plotting and setting up for this NaNo the two weeks before it started.  Yes a lot of it changed during the actually writing as the story took a mind of its own.  But I do feel having this outline helped me greatly in not only achieving the 50 k which I hit on November 19th.  But also part of the reason I finished a rough draft of the novel in the month (finishing off just over 71 k, and going as far as putting another 5 k down on a Steampunk story before the last day of Nov.).   

Story is another difference between this year’s project and past years.  A lot of my choices in past years were these grand, epic tales. Before October my actually NaNo story idea was a big ensemble post apocalypse/zombie story, which the closer to November I got the less I wanted to do it.  Two weeks before November I switched to a small more singular character based story.  It was an emotional horror/werewolf story about a woman who survives a ‘wild animal’ attack only while trying to recover starts having wild nightmares, hallucinations, and violent seizures.  Leading up to her worst fears about what is happening to her and a violent showdown with her maker.  So guess going for a more straight forward, small story works for me on a time crunch.    

Maybe the biggest reason for my success this year, other writers especially those I met through twitter.  In past years I have had a couple people who I kept up with and talked to from time to time during the month, but this year it was almost a nightly occurrence.  Writing sprints/word wars with other writers on twitter or facebook, giving me the extra push to not just put the minimal to page but to let myself just do what I wanted to do…write.  There is truly nothing more motivational than the encouragement and push you get from other writers.  And I thank you all for that!

Notice I don’t say “loser” for those who don’t successfully hit the goal of 50k.  Simple fact if you wrote during this month with the intention of trying to put the words to page, you are a winner. 
Music which got me through this NaNO (as I am listening to something almost always when I’m writing) – Godsmack, Pappa Roach, Sara Berilles, Christina Perri, Dia Frampton, Epica, Rob Zombie just to name a few…


  1. Having a solid outline also made a huge difference for me! While I did hit a snag during week four, the awesome writers on Twitter and Facebook helped me reach 50K just in time :)

  2. I agree that there are no losers in NaNo, and the writing community on twitter is what pushed me through as well! Good luck on your upcoming projects!

  3. The outline worked so well for me! I don't see me approaching another project without some kind of vague outline to fall back on. And the writers on Twitter rock! So helpful, great motivators.