Monday, November 13, 2006

The NaNo Experience

This is my first year participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). So what have I learned in the last fourteen days?

Let's see, the first thing was to stop procrastinating. I knew my story would take a fair amount of research, and while I did complete some, I could have done more if I didn't waste time surfing the Internet, and writing fan fiction stories so my friends could stroke my ego by telling me what a great writer I am. Note to self for next year's NaNo: Be prepared.

Then there was that little bit about character interview sheets and questionnaires. I've always kind of thought these things were dreamed up by writers who wanted to sound intelligent. They made good paper airplanes if you printed them out, and some of the questions could be down right interesting if I answered them myself - which I think I might still do. But with this story I finally bit the bullet and used the ones posted at the StoryCrafters forum, and I won't create another story without them. On numerous occasions I have referred to them to bring depth to my characters. In those character sheets I had posted specific details about my main character which have helped me to create a good picture of who he is. And because I filled these out early in the process, I knew what areas I needed to research before NaNo started. Next note to self: Never try to write a story without finding out who your characters are first.

So what else have I learned from my NaNo experience. I can write if I set tangible goals. I am more committed to my writing when I feel a little bit of pressure to get it done. Writing with a group of people is much more fun than doing it on my own. And, it's okay if my first draft is crappy, because that's what revisions are for. Last note to self: Make sure to sign up for NaNo every year.

Good luck everyone. I enjoy sharing NaNo with you.



Jean said...

I love NaNo. The first year I took part, the novel I wrote was so bad I deleted it. But I learned a lot from the process and next time I wrote a novel I still love. One of these days I'll finish revising it:--)

And...I'm so glad the planning things at StoryCrafters helped. When I first started writing seriouly, I didn't like the plan in advance thing. I wanted to let it happen as it happened. But over the years I've found writing is a lot easier when I have at least a rough idea of where we're going.

Good luck with you NaNo:--)


Lorib said...

I'm so glad Nano is going well and your learning so much.

I know what you mean about character sheets. I never took them serious until I tried the ones posted on SC. It's finally penetrated my thick skull how much more depth my characters have when I take the time to get to know them...
Thanks for the post.. nice read.