The first week of NaNoWriMo is not over yet but I have broken the 10k words mark today. That’s one fifth of the goal done. I think I will allow myself a glass of wine tonight to celebrate.
Between bouts of frantic writing this weekend, I have noticed several things.
First of all, tying and gaging my inner editor and shoving her in a dark closet for the duration of NaNo had been strangely liberating. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to just put words on paper (or on the computer screen in my case) without worrying about bad grammar, spelling or lack of style. Yes, it might look like a smoking pile of manure, but it moves the story forward, and anything is better than a blank page. Manure I can work with later and grow beautiful polished prose with, blank – not so much.
Another thing that I learned about my writing – having a pretty good idea of where your story goes and outlining it works wonders. All the other (unsuccessful) attempts at writing a novel started with me having a wonderful idea and a vague picture of the main characters. And I would sit down and happily punch words in for a week or two. Then I would get lost with no idea where my story is supposed to go, or hit a roadblock, or just lose interest and move on to a new shiny idea.
In this case I spent the entire month of October thinking about my story. I wrote the main idea, I thought about the beginning and the ending, I even sat down and wrote a more or less detailed outline. I dived into my world and tried to figure out as much about it as I could. I cornered my characters in tights spaces and interrogated them. So when November 1 arrived, I knew my world and my characters and I had a pretty good idea where my story was going. And guess what – I am still very much in love with the story.
So lesson learned – do not jump right into writing, let the idea sit and mature, poke at it for a week or two and see if what hatches is worth writing about.
Oh and I also found an excellent book by Timothy Hallinan called Finish Your Novel, there is a lot of very good advice and encouragement here, so I definitely recommend it to all aspiring novelists.