Word Count: 50,168
The Joys of Writing and the Dreaded Forced Writing
November 29th I ecstatically wrote past 50K which makes me officially a NaNoWriMo Winner! As I was waiting for my story Beautiful Mess to be verified a huge wave of relief swept over me. My shoulders relaxed, my eyes uncrossed, my brain unfried, I had done it! After a few minutes of doing a jig I then began eating a bowl of buttery mashed potatoes while vegging out in front of the TV for an hour. Now that I have enjoyed the bliss of making it to 50K I am now officially ready to start writing again. I am also ready to write on my own terms where editing is an integral part of the process. I am glad I took the last-minute plunge into the NaNoWriMo challenge as I learned a lot about my writing style and what works best for me.
First, I like to write in large chunks, then I like to edit these chunks. I wrote for 11 days straight not really caring about editing, but after that I really wanted to edit. Editing and reworking is a function of creativity, not a hinderance, as it prompts the next part of the story. Second, the act of writing continually fuels more stories. Before NaNo I had been working on a story for a while, but was having difficulty visualizing the next phase so I set it aside figuring I’d mentally work through it. One day while I was NaNo writing the solution just popped into my head as if it had been there all along waiting for me to uncover it. Along with that I also now have a really cool new idea for a paranormal werewolf story that I am anxious to plot out. Lastly, I do not like forced writing. After Thanksgiving the writing was completely forced. I was just trying to get to that 50K goal. In the end I think that is the least productive writing, especially if gets cut off the page in the editing phase.
A Thought Becomes a Sentence, A Sentence Becomes a Story
For my NaNo story I did not choose fantasy or paranormal (which at the moment are my stories involving shapeshifting and vampires), subjects I usually write about. I chose a story that came to me while I was riding the Light Rail to the Writer’s Conference in Seattle this summer. When I arrived I quickly sat down and plotted out the characters with their names, their issues and some of the conflicts. Since I joined NaNo literally at the last-minute I thought this would be the best story for me to delve into as the basics were already laid out. It’s a YA slice of life story set in bush Alaska. It’s about a teenage city girl named Ellie who spends the summer with the mother that abandoned her as a child, comes to terms with the family history she was clueless about, witnesses the loss of a friend and feels the excitement true loves first kiss. This was also my first attempt at writing something besides flash entirely in 1st person. This in itself was a good challenge for me because it made me focus on the direct thoughts and perceptions of my teenage MC. I look forward to the editing stage as I will get to spend more time in those moments immersing myself in her emotions and possibly adding chapter POV from some of the other characters.
I’m thankful that I took the challenge, but even more I’m thankful that it’s done!
Sending out a hearty congrats to all the NaNoWriMo participants!