AND THEN THERE WERE ALL THE THINGS BECAUSE I SAID SO AND STUFF HAPPENS AND THE END!
So, trying to narrow a novel down from that ^ can actually be pretty tricky. Or so I’m finding out the past few days.
It’s October 11, and already I’ve come up with three different ideas for my next writing project to take place next month during NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month). I had a YA (young adult) plot, toyed with a Chick-Lit plot, and how have settled firmly on a fantasy (most like urban fantasy) plot…for now. The sad part is this is normal. My NaNo plots usually change each week leading up to November 1st.
My first NaNo was back in 2010, and I decided at 10 p.m. on October 31st, that I wanted to do it. I had sort of an idea of what to do with the idea I had, I had a chatroom with local writers and my best friend by my side. That was it. The resulting “manuscript” is a total nightmare and I still break out into hives when I even think of looking at it. I have no idea how I finished that year because I had so little support. I logged into the local chatroom several times, had some word wars, but I never ventured out of my house. I don’t know how I survived this on my own.
My second NaNo was last year, of course, and this is where things really started to turn around. I felt a little more confident because I had already done this thing once. I started hitting up the forums on nanowrimo.org and I quickly made some friends in the Chick-Lit group. It was awesome as we banded together and decided to become cheerleaders for each other, supporting each other through the month of November. Even when I changed my mind on my novel and switched to romance instead of Chick-Lit. I also went to my first in-person event and tried to force myself to socialize.
I can socialize, and I like to. But I’m ridiculously lazy and getting out of the house…yeah, sometimes it’s just too much effort.
Then something awesome happened. The girls from the forums, we decided to stick together past November. We had a facebook group, a chatzy room, and endless amounts of inspiration between us. Having them around this past year has been pretty fantastic. We challenge each other, help each other, and cheer each other on to more words. We’ve all had our ups and downs but I think all of us have come to rely on logging into that chatzy room more nights than not and giggling into the wee hours of the morning with our fellow cheerleaders.
As you guys know, I have already done two NaNos this year. The camps were held in June and in August and I participated and won both of those. This will be my fifth attempt at NaNo and my fifth win – barring any catastrophic events like alien abduction, full body casts, or waking up in an alternative universe. Because really, at this point, I don’t think I know HOW to lose at NaNo. I’m not trying to sound super snobby or conceited, I promise. The thing is, I know myself. I know that if I commit to this thing and don’t finish then I will beat myself up for it for a VERY long time. And if I start it and don’t finish – well, I don’t want to get in that habit. I don’t want my excuses to become more flimsy each NaNo month for why I didn’t finish.
And really, to me, NaNo is about challenging myself as a writer. My first NaNo was a challenge because I’d never sat down and written for long periods of time before. My second one was about opening myself up to other people as a writer – letting people support me, read my shit, and supporting others. This summer was about finishing things. I’ve realized over the course of this year that I have a serious problem finishing novels/stories becasue I never have an ending in mind. How are you supposed to get somewhere if you don’t know where that somewhere is? It’s a problem I’m working on.
Since it’s obvious to me that 50,000 isn’t a challenge anymore, I’ve decided to try different things this year. I’m attempting my first fantasy novel next month (and I’m actually sticking with this one because well, I want to). I’m possibly writing in first person which is something I don’t do. And for the first time ever, I would like to have a CLEAN, FINISHED first draft by November 30th. Or 80K, because if this thing ends up being epic in length – well, I don’t have enough time in November to do that cleanly, lol.
How are YOU going to challenge yourself this November?
Health, Peace, & Happiness,