What I learned from NaNoWrimo 2015

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I did it! I “won” NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time. All I had to do was write 50,000 words for a new novel in one document during the course of the month of November. Which is easier said than done of course.

Here’s what I learned:

— I have a lot of ideas, some of them quite crazy, but I can elaborate on them for paragraphs, pages and beyond. My husband knows I am full of ideas, as I badger him with them whenever he’s playing Destiny (“They should have a side game where all you do is collect plants, berries, nuts and seeds, and then take them to a kitchen where they can be prepared into meals and then resold. You could have a whole restaurant thing for cash flow. Oh and what about pets? Can’t you have pets in this game? I want to have a pet snake that lives in a pocket on my chest and whenever I get killed, the snake bites whoever killed me and they die too.”)

— It’s easy for me to write dialog or anything when the ideas are just flowing. Typing 1000 words in an hour is no problem. However, when I’m just short on ideas or not in the mood to write, it goes painfully slow. I had some days where it just seemed like I was sitting down at the computer every few hours trying to make something happen and only getting a few hundred words typed each time.

— I can get ideas from life, Facebook, Time magazine, the newspaper or talking to people. So if I ever again face a kind of idealess writer’s block, stepping away from the page and engaging with life is a good way for me to get beyond it.

— My new novel, Truculent States of Oblivion, has the potential to be the most awesome thing I’ve ever written, but it needs a lot of work. Now that I have tons of stories, characters, scenes and ideas roughed out, I need to go back, do a timeline, a map, a plot outline, figure out all the character arcs, assemble what I have into some kind of frame work, and fill in all the gaps. And that’s before the editing begins in earnest. Still, I think if I can manage to work on it 5-10 hours a week for the next six months, I could probably have a rough draft by summer or fall of 2016.

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