Gearing up for Nanowrimo

On Tuesday morning I will begin what I do every November–Nanowrimo. This year, I think I will manage to finish it. Unlike last year, when I was overworked to the point that I felt like I was falling apart, my workload is manageable and I won’t have to divide my time between Stockholm and Warsaw. I will only be in Stockholm (and possibly a week in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving). And this year I have a clear story idea and I’ve written an outline. Last year was the first time I attempted Nanowrimo with no clear idea of what I wanted to write. I spent a week writing something I didn’t like, started over again and completely lost steam after 15000 words. I’ve learned my lesson.

I know a lot of people are against the idea of Nanowrimo. They say that writing without their internal editor means they end up with 50,000+ words of something they can’t use in the future. They say they spend more time revising what they started for Nanowrimo and it isn’t worth the effort.

For me, it’s the exact opposite. Without Nanowrimo, I spend too much time overthinking what and how to write in a chapter. My internal editor/critic tells me that what I am writing is crap before I even get it on the screen. When I have a word-count deadline, I don’t have time to listen to my evil internal editor/critic. I just know I need to get those 1667 words/day done. The other thing I have noticed with Nanowrimo is that if I start with an outline of my story (or at least write a synopsis with the conflicts clearly mapped out) then I spend less time puzzling over plot points and more time just writing.

The first time I attempted Nanowrimo, I only had the first three chapters outlined. I finished a 50000+ first draft in 31 days (unfortunately not 30 days, but I celebrated nonetheless). I waited until January to begin reading what I’d written, thinking it would be complete crap. Guess what? It wasn’t. I had pretty good characterization (just a few things needed to be fleshed out), a concrete timeline and good conflicts. I wrote the story in a linear, chronological fashion. Later I realized that some chapters near the middle would actually make for a better start to the novel and then what I had at the beginning would be great for the flashback chapters. I revised the novel. It still needs a tweak or two but whenever I read it, I still like it and it will probably be the first e-novel I publish, which I hope to do at the beginning of 2012.

So this year’s Nanowrimo novel has the working title “Snowbound”. It will not be a work of literary genius. I am not trying to write anything highbrow. It’s a romantic story about a woman who wants to spend Christmas alone, but gets an uninvited guest or two. And with one of those “unwelcome” guests comes a little holiday spark. I will be posting unedited excerpts here once a week on my Nanowrimo page. I’ll also keep you posted on here of my progress. You can also follow me on the official Nanowrimo page, where I listed as “KimGM”.

If you’re interested in signing up for Nanowrimo, head to their official site. Remember: Nanowrimo starts on Tuesday, 1 November and ends on 30 November. Why not try it? It’s fun and you can use the forums on the official site to keep you motivated.

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