Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

1st draft vs 2nd draft

I would like to know as a reader which of the two opening paragraphs below makes you want to read more?

1.            The explosion could be heard for miles and the scent of smoke from the fading buildings tainted the air for days afterwards.  Maud, a nine year old little girl was found in the nearby cemetery, huddled by the cemetery wall shortly after it happened, she was discovered to be the daughter of the local priest, Father O’Hara and his wife Mildred O’Hara, they were killed in the blast and half the church had gone too. 

2.            Smoke and dust filled the air and sirens deafened all around.  Her eyes filled with tears as she saw her home being bombed by the unknown attackers of her city; a little girl no younger than nine was holding onto her ears with her eyes closed crouching by a tombstone in the local cemetery nearby.  It was an awful sight; it was an awful noise, much more awful for a little girl like Maud.  After a while somebody found her crouching there all alone.  They asked her name, they asked where she lived but all she could do was cry and point at the pile of smoking rubble that was her home.

This is based on the novel I was writing for NaNoWriMo, the first paragraph is the absolute first draft of this story, and the second paragraph is the revised second draft.

Would you keep either of the paragraphs or revise again?

A little information here, I never completed NaNoWriMo or this novel, the story is on hold until after Christmas.  I managed to write approximately 37,000 words towards this and I didn’t consider it to be a half way point. 

 

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NaNo No No No DON’T DO IT!

I do not recommend NaNoWriMo to any writer who has been writing for a while, whether published or unpublished to partake in NaNoWriMo unless they are used to writing more than 1700 words per day under pressure.  In fact I would even stretch to say, unless you are used to writing at least 2000 words per day, because when you do NaNoWriMo you become obsessed with having certain amount of words rather than good quality work.  This can be especially true for those writers out there (and I am one of those writers) who are highly competitive outside of writing in every other thing – this feeds my competitive nature far too much.

The work I have done on NaNoWriMo is shockingly awful; it is the worse stuff I have ever, EVER done.  It will take me much longer to edit the first draft than would have been usual for me.  I am dreading to re-read what I have done and for the record, no, I haven’t won NaNoWriMo and I will not by Wednesday, simply because I stopped writing the novel altogether last week at 37,504 words.  I am disgusted at myself for the quality of work I have done; I am not used to creating that kind of garbage.  With that said, the novel in itself isn’t too bad an idea; there are many wonderful things that have happened during the NaNoWriMo challenge, some of which are pleasantly surprising and helpful to enhance the richness of the plot as a whole, but in practise, the story is unemotional and I missed several key points in my plot because of the word count. 

I suppose the speed of NaNoWriMo assisted mainly in the brainstorming phase of my writing; I certainly had a brainstorm for something interesting to happen in the novel outside of my key elements as often as once every ten paragraphs approximately.  However, simply sitting back and doing my daily journal does that if I concentrate purely on the current novel I am working on; something of which I hadn’t had the energy to do throughout the challenge.  I had no energy to do any other form of work in writing or art; it was starting to burn me out.  I had no energy to read books or even update my personal diary and morning pages. 

The entire challenge zapped me; it absorbed me and ultimately slowed me down.  I wrote less per day than I would normally, ironic because of the word count obsession, but it did indeed; slow me down by 800 words per day.

I think I could have kept with the challenge despite the shoddiness of work, if there was more support.  However, my region seems to be a ghost town, hardly anyone has been seen on any of the forums or the chatrooms provided, the only support I had got were from people who were not doing the challenge and were writers who look at the challenge with a sympathetic eye.  I spent ages sitting around waiting for someone to talk to from the NaNoWriMo site, even trying to seek out NaNoWriMo writers from twitter and other places to come up against a social brick wall.

NaNoWriMo although was a terrible experience for me, was still fruitful in its way.  I brainstormed through the toil and was provided with small gems to make my plot as a whole sparkle.  But I have a lot of extra unnecessary work to do, when editing comes around.  Let me put this into plainer terms… The first chapter of the novel will be completely deleted and replaced with only a nice, neat three paragraphs and that is only the first chapter.  Something I am not used to doing, I am not used to creating that amount of rubbish.

I am bored with the novel at the moment, I won’t continue with it perhaps until way after New Year.  Meanwhile I will start reviving my blog again and work on the other two novels I wanted to do during the challenge, without the panic that I shall be a failure unless I reach 50k for just one novel in 30 days.

As I said before, I wrote more outside of the challenge, than I did within it.

So, will I be taking up NaNoWriMo challenge 2017?  You must be joking?  Of course I won’t.

 

 

 

 

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Half way through the challenge

I am over the half way mark in NaNoWriMo, not much over it though I just finished for the night at 25,066 words.

I slumped behind on the words for a few days because I was worrying too much about NaNoWriMo technicalities rather than just worrying about my novel. 

For example, I wasn’t sure that I liked what I had written and didn’t want to delete it because I didn’t want to affect my word count for this challenge.  I went onto the forums tonight for the first time since taking up the challenge and found out that other people know that they have written crap on their first draft, so go back to the draft later on and write underneath the former crap that you want to change the above and here is the newer version of that event.  I didn’t know this was allowed but apparently it is.

I also didn’t know whether or not I had to stop writing my novel 50k willy nilly, I am so glad I don’t because I think my novel is going to be approximately 150k when I have finished, so again another fear has been allayed.

Now I know this, I think I will finish the challenge much, much quicker than I had originally thought and I am personally starting to write again, how I used to write before NaNo, which is an ace for me!

 

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Plotter to Pantser

Despite it being crappy as I said in my last post I have persevered with my NaNoWriMo novel.  I have now added a further two thousand and odd words to my story and that totals to 18931 words all told.

So I haven’t given up yet and hopefully I won’t.

However, my story isn’t developing how I wanted it to be, I have gone from what NaNoWriMo veterans would call a plotter that is now turning into a pantser.  The new developments however are more exciting than my original plans, I am very happily surprised at what is happening in the story, in spite of hating how badly written it is as a whole.

Wish me luck!

 

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NaNoWriMo is making my writing terrible

I appear to be losing the plot 17k into my NaNoWriMo novel, it seems to be going against my plans and I am getting to the point where I need some sort of support and though my region is lovely, it is a very quiet and unsocial group.  There is usually no one but the bot in the chatroom, the forum isn’t very active and people are generally slow in my region to respond to E-mails.  There doesn’t seem to be a region group for people who are in Warwickshire, UK, so I have chosen to be in the region UK other group, I had thought of leaving the group to join the West Midland Birmingham group which is near me, but I don’t know if I can swap regions in the middle of NaNoWriMo month or not?

I feel that although I am working faster on my novel than I usually do, I think it is my worse work so far.  I know first drafts are notoriously shitty, but I think mine is getting to the state of time wasting and the point of no return.

The novel I am writing was planned to a t before the month started, during the month lots of new things and scenes have been added and I have forgotten to include some of the original detail, it’s just a mess and I am not sure if I want to carry on till the end and then clean up the mess at the end of the month or just ditch it now and say I failed NaNo this year.

It’s all full of dialogue, very little action and descriptions and I can’t just write a novel based on dialogue, it’s more or less like a film script, in fact I think that’s what it is!  I want it to be a novel, not a film script.

I don’t really want to fail this year, I don’t want to ditch the story per se, but it is a terrible, terrible mess and I just wish I had people to talk to about this who are also participating in NaNoWriMo and who are veterans of it, so to speak.

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NaNoWriMo Day 5

NaNoWriMo word count so far… 12667 and writing first draft without revising each paragraph like I usually do, is coming up with some surprising results.  The results are similar to brainstorming and brain drain, similar to the things I tend to get on my morning pages with the Artist Way. 

So far my novel contains talking animals and several magical items I had never planned on.  The journey is cut short by a weird mode of transport and I have added a supporting character I had never planned to add, the supporting characters I had planned to add aren’t as important to the story after all; I am sensing a death coming up any time soon for those!

Yes I know death to one of the least supporting characters is callous, but it is necessary, as Stephen King always says “Kill your darlings” and I have to say, I am not uncomfortable with it.

 

 

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NaNoWriMo update November 4th

Current word count for NaNoWriMo on day 4 is 10461, yay.  🙂

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Day 3 of NaNoWriMo

Today is day three of NaNoWriMo, I may write more later on, but probably not too.  I have completed today with 2185 words, this total’s my whole NaNoWriMo score for the 3 days I have suffered from repetitive strain injury on my right hand as 7779 words completed towards my 50k goal.

I am not just doing NaNoWriMo, I am doing my normal writing as well as the 750words.com nano challenge, this means other than writing for my nano novel, I am dishing out a further 1700 words on average for 750words.com badge and another 1000 words for anything else.

Plus whatever the word count for this is – oh and I have also been handwriting outside of typing.  Sighs.  I dare anyone to tell me I am not productive this week, I dare them to say it!

*Sits watching and waiting for an idiot to take me up on the challenge of saying it*.

 

 

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NaNoWriMo November 2nd update

Today I have so far completed 5,594 words towards my 50,000 word goal at NaNoWriMo!

 

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NaNoWriMo & The Monster

I needed a pep talk on the NaNoWriMo website tonight, because I have never written thousands of words down towards a novel without revising each paragraph for weeks at a time.  I am not used to word vomit.  But I am doing that with NaNoWriMo because the motto there is to ‘just write’ and that’s what I am doing and I am finding that my story is unemotional and non-descriptive and generally trashy I have to say.  But, fellow Nanos told me, it’s meant to be like that initially, you’re just piecing things together, it’s not meant to be perfect first hand.  It’s supposed to be a little more than planning stage, it’s still part of the planning, and it doesn’t start to look like the story until draft two or three or four.

So this got me thinking.  I started to think that you know what?  If they are right and professionals do write like this on a consistent basis then a novel is like Frankenstein’s monster.  You get an arm, a leg, a hand, etc. and you sew it all together and then with each new draft you make after NaNoWriMo you are trying to find the secrets to life, eventually you will get to the grand finale, you will get that lightning bolt of life you need for your monster, the story and he shall come alive!  I hope my monster comes alive by the end of this anyway!

Good Luck to all who are doing NaNoWriMo this year!

 

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