You know you’re a Wrimo when your household wakes November 1st to the greetings of “Happy NaNoWriMo” and it wakes December 1st to greetings of “Happy not NaNoWriMo!”
As this blog was born on the eve of NaNo’s yearly farewell, it seemed fitting that it’s first post would pertain to the events of NaNo past. That, and old habits die hard, leaving many a wayward Wrimo (such as myself) in the continued pattern of waking to check NaNoWriMo’s site, followed by a quick writing session. Which is how I spent my 6am.
Generally, I don’t like blog posts to run over 500 words, but I’ve decided to make an exception for this one as it is the end of NaNo, which encourages lengthy writing, and I have yet to recover from its effects.
This November, I set my goal to double last year’s which had it’s advantages and it’s drawbacks. I achieved my word count goal, but my quality left much to be desired. I didn’t move forward with my plot as much as I had hoped, becoming stuck in specific and unnecessarily drawn out scenes. I purposely dialogued where I should have summarized, and described what I should have ignored. I unapologetically decimated plot lines, and I warped character personalities to fit the whims of my newly constructed scenes. The POV become drastically more reliable than originally intended, and the characer became wildly more intellegent than my sixteen-year-old protag was supposed to be.
Not all of those were drawbacks. I’ll leave you to imagining which fell into what categories.
Despite the apparent failure I’ve described above, I am considering NaNoWriMo 2012 a smashing success. Firstly, because I am of the strong belief that every word should be valued and celebrated. It is one more creative thing in the world that didn’t exist in October. Secondly, because what I got out of NaNo 2012 far outweighs the failure of it all.
And on that note, allow me to present to you, in no particular order, my list of NaNo successes:
- While not technically my success, my brother achieved 22k of his novel! He’s a slow writer, due to his style of writing, so this was an immense achievement! I’m terribly proud of him, in case you can’t tell by the blatant plug.
- I discovered what didn’t work. That’s half the battle. The faults I listed off above are going to be the new foundation upon which my story will not be built on next year. Which is a very good thing.
- It inspired my 365 Challenge, which should finally allow me to get that series plotted start to finish, with the knowledge that what I intended for my characters to do and what they actually did are now one and the same. Well, they probably won’t do what I said, but at least I will know what they intend to do.
- I’ve learned a valuable lesson about characters who aren’t supposed to fall in love: They do so anyway, fracking up the storyline as much as humanly possible while they are at it. Yes, Zack and Izzy (of Secret Life) destroyed an entire plotline, but they made it much more real and lovable, so I am counting it as a win.
- With 98% certainty, I can say that my overall WPM has increased. Very shortly, it will decrease while I learn Dvorak (because all good nerds should learn at least two methods of typing). I’m attributing this entirely to my participation in word sprints this year. I’m also attributing my absolute lack of wordy prowess to said sprints.
- At least 30 links (which I avoided due to bubbles of distraction) I need to comb through that range from Dvorak typing, Wrimo blogs, writing/editing tips, and nearly every form of random video goodness you can imagine. Also manga. Lots of manga recommendations.
- A shiny new web badge for a shiny new blog! Victory in a graphic!
- Writing Buddies. Hopefully even some that will still be writing in May or June, when the NaNo buzz has officially worn off and the vast majority of the world has moved on with what they claim is normalcy. Even if only a few of new companions continue to be vaguely interested in writing during the non-NaNo months, 2013 will be an awesome year.
- I’ve gained a great deal of confidence in, and respect for, my writing and characters. They aren’t terrible by any means. They are complex, well rounded, and most importantly, interesting. Both the stories and the characters pleasantly surprise me almost constantly.
- Winning NaNoWriMo means the inevitable windows release of Aeon Timeline in 2013 will be discounted! Hoozah!
- Possibly the most important accomplishment of NaNo, and the reason for my insanely high goal, is that I gained extremely valuable research material for Writer (of Secret Life). The character is a struggling writer, despite having written for years, and will be participating in something similar to NaNoWriMo, if not the event itself. I’ve learned an intense amount of what he will be thinking and feeling, which will be quite helpful. Also, since he is a non-plotter and I am a hardcore plotter, my fellow writers have assisted me greatly with his style.
This has been an exception year overall for me. The first three attempts at NaNo were successful in words, they offered very little else. A frustrated end when the story didn’t go nearly as well as planned, with the consolation prize that I suck, I just wasn’t good. This year, I can say that while it wasn’t good, it was educational and insanely productive.
To all my fellow writers out there who were victorious this year, whether in word count or otherwise, may we meet again in 2013, and DFTBA!