Friday, 30 November 2012

NaNo Wrap Up: 4 Things I learnt About Myself Through NaNo

So it is the end of NaNo. I didn’t manage to hit 100,000 words like I wanted to but I’m proud of myself anyway. Several days in a row I managed to hit 6,000 words and one day I even had a 10,000 word day. I tried for another one yesterday but sadly it was not meant to be. This month I began three different novels, I learnt to knit again, I gained some valuable work experience and I made some very important life choices. I also learnt some very important things about myself and my writing process;

1) I’m part plotter and part pantser
I like some detail before I start writing. I like to know, roughly what each chapter will involve and how the story will develop within it. A brief description of each chapter and various scenes is all I need to be able to start writing a story and have it go the way that I want. I cannot work off a vague idea, it’s fine for a couple of chapters but after that I need some clue as to where it’s going, even if it’s a general thing. But I can work best off a partially plotted storyline.

2) Too much detail kills my writing
My first idea for NaNo was very planned. Each scene was written in meticulous detail, ridiculously so, and once I started writing I started to hate it. My writing had nowhere to go, the characters had no room to develop and I just started to hate the story. I don’t want to hate my writing but I need to be able to have fun with it, to let it go off-track and wander in its own direction before I brought it back to the main storyline. So clearly over-detailed plotting is not for me.

3) My characters develop as I write.
My characters in o.S.a.M (which still needs a new name) were quite well detailed; I knew what they looked like, some of their history and a rough idea of their personalities. This was all before I started writing it. Once I started writing the novel though my characters grew, they developed bigger personalities and odd quirks (such as Will and Gabe’s friendship being reminiscent of Turk and JD in Scrubs) and their back-stories shifted into something that I didn’t even think of in the beginning (who knew Gabe was a prince of Labolai?!). The same happened for a contemporary fantasy police novel I started writing on Monday. I knew roughly what the characters were like but as I wrote they too developed and one even revealed that he had multiple personalities.

4) I start to go off track towards the end
For the last few days I’ve been reluctant to actually write anything even though I’ve not finished the novels. I think it may be because I’m focused on writing and not doing much else but now that I know November is almost over I’ve started planning what I plan to do once I’m free of writing each day.  Having to focus on just one thing at the expense of everything else is clearly not for me, I like the freedom of being able to work on what I want, when I want.

So there we go, 4 things I learnt about how I work when I was doing NaNo.
Oh and incidentally, right now I’m at 80,339 words and I still have 3 hours left of November 30th. Maybe I’ll manage to up that, maybe not.
Keep Writing!

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