NaNoWriMo Odds and Ends

Thirty days ago I began NaNoWriMo at the base of one of the columns outside St. Peter's Basilica. The program ends tonight.

Right now I'm just aglow. I am in love ... throw-back-your-head, fling-out-your-arms, tell-the-whole-world in love with this book. I finished the rough draft last night and am thoroughly happy with the way it turned out.

Yes, it has plot holes; yes, it contains appalling sentences that I hope no one ever knows I wrote; yes, everything happens too fast; but far more came together than I expected and it wound up making itself the sort of story I don't want to put down because it gives me such happiness. It needs a little work, I think, before anyone else will get that feeling from it, but at least I've a start.

For your reading pleasure (or at least, my listing pleasure), here are notes on the experience and the story itself.

Worst things about the story:
  • The plot setups are awful--usually gave out way too much information so I wouldn't forget it myself.
  • Adjectives--not much better, they all got overused. Adverbs, likewise. I needed words.
  • Some of the action and romance scenes are a little cheesy owing to the hurry in which they were written, and perhaps to my own innate cheesiness.
  • A lot of them also happen too quickly.
  • The rule "Don't tell, show"? Yeah, I broke that one a lot.
Best things about the story:
  • The fourth character. I had a primary triptych with a clear protagonist, but the fourth--whom I had loosely planned going in--turned up much earlier in the story and played a far greater role than I expected.
  • The worlds. I had some pre-November input from my mom and sister on how I might structure the worlds, and they turned out lovely. In my head, at least.
  • The overall plot and theme. It stayed basically true to my main formula, even though a lot of times I just threw something down and told myself I'd figure out what that meant later. A lot of the things I threw down jumped up and made a decent structure out of themselves, without destroying the original direction.
  • The surprises. Maybe it's fun to try to surprise a reader; I'll probably never know. It's way too much fun when the story surprises me.
Most difficult things about the experience:
  • The temptation to procrastinate.
  • Having to rediscover my thought process every time I took a break.
  • Writing out of zero ideas, not knowing even how to end the sentence, let alone the scene.
  • Spending a solid week singing Kristina Horner's line "I just realized I have plot holes and my writing really sucks" and meaning it.
  • Not editing myself. I cheated on that many times.
Most fun things about the experience:
  • Starting in Italy.
  • Feeling serious progress come from my efforts.
  • Not stressing over plot holes and major difficulties/unplanned parts--or stressing less about them, at least. I could just say "Right, that's dreadful" and keep writing.
  • Falling in love with my characters, one after the other.
  • Getting surprised by really sweet moments. I'm sure most of them are desperately silly right now, but ... well, I can't talk about any of them without giving away spoilers, but one in particular just about startled me into tears of joy.
Final word count: 57,500

Number of cheats used: None, unless you count flinging around the adjectives and the passive verb and other comparatively useless parts of speech without discretion.

Great WriMo moment: Including Mr. Ian Woon. He lives on the Moon. I am inordinately proud of that fact.

What's next: My goal today is to make a quick scan through the story, highlight things I love and things I want to change, and then put it away for a few weeks before starting to overhaul. I am very anxious to do my best by my beloved little tale, and bad revision can kill off all the best parts of a story without fixing the problems, according to Holly Lisle. This absolutely terrifies me. But I hereby commit myself to making a full revision. That's a promise.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Friendly comments are welcomed with fairy music, magic wishes, and possible unicorn sightings. Troll comments will be Transfigured into decent-looking rocks or Vanished. Spam comments will be shot down with blasters. You have been warned.

It is with much regret that I've set the monster Captcha guarding the gate. There just weren't enough blasters. I'm sorry. I hate it, too.