Reflections on NaNoWriMo

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Done for another year. Last year was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, so it was interesting to do it again and see if the same things happened as last year. Yep, they did.

Writing frantically, every day for 30 days, means there isn’t time for editing. Last year was difficult because first, I’m a short story writer, and second, I tend to edit as I go. I didn’t think I could write a novel of 50,000, but I did it last year, and again this year, so last year wasn’t a fluke.

The other thing I found interesting is that my novels didn’t go where I wanted them to go, and people and events crept in when I wasn’t paying attention. This year, I wanted to write a history of the Divine Sisterhood of Animal Magick, which was something I came up with in a short story. I thought I would start way back in the Dark Ages to show how the sisterhood started and then write vignettes about the sisterhood and its members at different times in history. Silly me!! I should have known better! These were to be people taken in as young girls and tested for their ability to talk to animals, and how they were treated, etc. But I ended up with People who are Magic, and can either time travel or live forever as each vignette had the same characters. And that wasn’t being lazy, as I had all the names for each time period picked out.

There were also storms at sea, and storms on land, and a ship getting blown off course during a hurricane and ending up in the New World. And when I came up with a name for the ‘castle’ in North Wales where it all began I was kinda spooked to find out there really is a ‘castle’ with that name, and it was built in the 16th Century. 

So now I don’t plan to write at all during December. I will catch up on the stack of books waiting to be read, and the blogs that need to be read and commented on, and the new followers and commenters on my blogs that need to be acknowledged, and the list goes on. In january, I will go back to editing last year’s novel and start editing this year’s. And I will probably do some research that I should have done in September and October. But it’s hard to do research if I don’t know where the novel is going to take me.

And yes, I’ll do it again next year.

🙂

And …Done!

Phew! Another 50,000+ word novel is written but not yet finished. Now it will sit and I will ignore it until January when I will pull it out, dust it off, and see if there’s anything worth salvaging. I think there is, but that just may be the November euphoria speaking. So now I have two novels to finish and edit, which is probably a good thing; this way I can switch back and forth when my head starts to hurt from one of them.

So now I can catch up with all the blog posts I’ve missed, and visit all those who were gracious enough to visit and/or like and/or follow my blogs.

For those of you still writing – Onward and Upward!! I’m rooting for all of you.

NaNo Day 4

Day 4 was actually pretty good. By writing off and on all day, I was able to catch up with the word count. By the end of today, I should be at 6,668 and have actually written 6,758. I like to be ahead, even a little, to account for the unforeseen things that come up in life. So now I’m going to reward myself by zoning out in front of the TV for the rest of the evening while I finish the laundry.

I have a general idea of where I want to go with my story, but my characters seem to have other ideas. The first part of the story went well, at least I think so. The second part isn’t going so well, so I may have to rethink that. Maybe I’ll just put something between the first part and the second part to bridge the gap a little more.

The story is about a Sisterhood of women who have special powers to hear and talk to animals. What I wanted to do is write about the beginnings of the Sisterhood in ancient times and then write a story about how it was faring in different periods of history. I think I may have to expand from just animal-talk to other forms of ‘magic’ as well. Or at least, that’s where the story seems to be going at the moment. And that’s the thing about writing for me, I can have a plan, a plot, an outline, characters, etc. but it all makes no difference once I start writing. My stories have a life of their own once they leave my head and start down my arms to my fingers! 🙂

Miracles

I have surprised myself: I have been writing in my Gratitude Journal for 15 days (I did miss one day because I forgot!) It has been quite an exercise for me in discipline and creativity. Since I participated in NaNoWriMo, which ended on the last day of November, I haven’t written much at all.

Some days are full of the mundane, and it’s hard to pick three things to put in the Journal; other days are so full of little miracles, it’s hard to pick only three to write into the Journal. And it hasn’t become any easier – yet. I suppose if gratitude were easy, everyone would do it. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? People expressing gratitude for the day-to-day miracles that happen in their lives.

Nature itself is a miracle, if you stop and think about it. A tiny seed, no bigger than a pinhead, can grow into a giant tree; birds instinctively know how to build a nest, how to migrate and which way to go. I am constantly amazed at wild flora and fauna; at the way a hawk will catch the thermals and just soar in ever increasing circles until it is out of sight.

What exactly are miracles? To me, they are the everyday things that happen without any seeming interference from anyone or anything. I know that there are natural laws at work here, and I actually know some of them, but knowing doesn’t decrease my wonder at the marvels of our world.

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NaNoWriMo

I find it hard to believe how long it’s been since I posted on my blog! In my defense, I am participating in NaNoWriMo and have been consumed with writing a novel. This is my first time, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. And since I have only ever written short stories, I wasn’t sure I had a 50,000+ word novel in me. But it seems that I do! I am managing to keep up with the daily word count and am on track to finish on time on Nov 30th or sooner with at least 50,000 words.

It hasn’t been easy at times. The first few days I sat staring at a blank screen with no idea where to start. For the month or so leading up to Nov 1st., I had ideas running through my head so fast I couldn’t keep up with them. But on Nov 1st. they all seemed to have evaporated into the ether somewhere.

Inspiration finally struck as I pulled out research I had done some 20 years ago with the idea of writing a fact-based novel. And the words flowed so fast it was hard for my fingers to keep up with my brain. One thing that is truly difficult for me is there is no editing allowed. We are supposed to just get the words down; editing will come after November. Now I always edit as I go, so I had to restrain myself several times those first few days. The goal here is to get the 50,000 words.

The discipline of writing every day has been good for me; I know now I can do it. I just have to keep up the writing once the official NaNo is over for this year. There are lots of people who are writing, encouraging, and giving pep talks when someone stumbles or feels like giving up. The Facebook community for the local NaNos is awesome!

I originally planned on keeping a daily journal about the ups and downs of this event, but obviously I didn’t. Last weekend, all of my characters were strangely silent, and I didn’t progress very far with the story. I was able to go back and fill in lots of descriptions that I hadn’t done in my hurry to get everything written. Threatening my characters did seem to help, though. Telling them I would kill them off and find characters who would show up when I needed them seemed to do the trick. I know how strange that sounds, but after all, this is not my story, it is the story my characters want to tell.

As of now, I have written 33,039 words, which means I have 16,961 left to write to meet my goal. Too bad I can’t count the words in this blog as part of my total!