Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks, NaNoWriMo. You changed me. Now it's time to take a nap.

Thanks, NaNoWriMo. You changed me. Now it's time to take a nap.

A little after six o’clock this morning, I hit the fifty thousand word mark by adding one last sentence to my very rough first draft. The last thing that I expected to do, on the day of “winning” National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) was to sit down and write about it. However, there is some coffee left in the pot, my eyes still burn anyway and I am not quite ready to get up and clean the house.

Late in the summer, with a dream in my heart, I searched for writing tips online and stumbled upon Nanowrimo.org, who challenges participants to compose a rough draft of a novel in thirty days. Specifically, in the month of November.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world compete in the contest and there are as many different approaches as there are plots. There are those who outline, there are “pansters” (a term which means he who writes by the seat of his pants) and there are many hybrids in between. While my September and October preparations of character descriptions and chapter notes helped, I abandoned myself to much pantsing in order to “validate my novel” by finally copying and pasting fifty thousand forty-one words into a little white box online and just in time.

After taking care of the daily tasks which I’ve let slide in order to pretend that I was a real-life novelist, I will edit and revise. They say that characters perform the unexpected as one writes and I had many surprises during these last thirty days. For example, my protagonist underwent her life-changing a-ha moment while in jail. However, if you ever read my novel, you won’t find Francie in the women’s state penitentiary. I may be tired, but I am lucid enough to know to ditch the prison scenes, as I shall prefer to perform research in a lovely location like Tuscany instead.

It was fun, NaNoWriMo. Thank you for the inspiration. This month has changed me and now I I’m going to take a nap.