To NaNo, or not to NaNo?

by Doc Coleman on October 22, 2014 · 8 comments

in NaNoWriMo, Novels

Well, it is that time of year again. November is just around the corner, and with November, there comes NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. For the uninitiated, this is a time where people all over attempt to write the first draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It’s a pretty daunting task. It requires dedication, consistency, and no tolerance for distractions. I’ve done NaNoWriMo the last three years. Should I do it again this year?

Back in 2011, I wrote the first draft of The Perils of Prague during NaNoWriMo, or at least the first 50,000 words of it. It took me several more months to finish that draft. Right now I’m working on the fourth draft and trying to push to get Perils ready to publish. That’s still a lot of work to do. Work I’m going to need time to execute.

In 2012, I wrote the first draft of The Bright Lands, or rather about 40,000 words of it. I didn’t finish NaNo that year because I got down to the last week and got stuck. I knew where my protagonist needed to go, but I couldn’t see how to get her on the road to that destination until November 29th. I came home ready to do an epic writing sprint… and collapsed. Not enough sleep. I crashed out for the rest of the night, and didn’t have enough time during the last day to make enough of a dent in the story. I gave up. At least on NaNo. I’ve worked on Bright Lands some since then, but I still haven’t finished the first draft. I stopped working on Bright Lands when I realized that I needed to do a major re-write. I needed to drop one character, introduce another one earlier, and trash a lot of the early establishing action. This is a project I could use for NaNo.

Last year, I started a superhero/sci-fi mashup story, but after the first 12,000 words, I realized that I didn’t have the scientific background to represent my main character, a psychologist, correctly. As a result, I was filling up words with scenes that weren’t really going anywhere. Rather than continue writing scenes that I was only going to have to cut, I put that story in the trunk.

So, now I’m looking at this year. Do I sit this one out and focus on finishing Perils, or dive in with the re-write of Bright Lands? Or come up with something new story? If you’ve read this far, tell me what you think.

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