mbranesf (mbranesf) wrote,

Victory: I just won NaNo and learned some stuff about how I write

I have completed this year's National Novel Writing Month, bringing my manuscript (recently retitled Days of the Dust and the Diane Rehm Show) to just over 50,000 words! The next step with it is to format it into something looking like a real book, with some annotations and illustrations. This will be a thank you gift at Christmas for the sweet and generous folks who threw in on this month's fundraiser for J.

I'm pretty pleased with this accomplishment. I had not participated in NaNo before, but decided to try it this year since I thought I had a story that seemed tellable in the time allotted and I thought that it would be a good exercise for my discipline as a writer. Both of those thoughts were correct, and I have a feeling of great satisfaction today. I now know that I can bang out that kind of word count in a month on a single project while still doing other things like running M-Brane, maintaining my blogs, and various real-world things.

The story itself held a lot of surprises in store for me as it evolved over the month. It's quite different now than I had imagined it would be, but also more interesting as well. I have not really had that experience very often as a fiction writer that so many other writers describe where their characters seem to take control of the thing and pull the author along toward an unknown conclusion. That definitely happened with this story, and I think it might be a result of simply trying to to write it quickly without stopping to mull over plot details for a long time before setting down words. This is how I'm doing it from now on. I know a lot of writers do not find the NaNo Death March to be a useful tool--everyone has their own preferences--but I am sold on it and am already planning to do it again next year.

How did the story turn out differently? Well, I had imagined it as a very realistic "literary" type story about nothing other than the stupid old human heart in conflict with itself. I didn't think it would be very plot-intensive, nor have a lot (if any) speculative fiction elements. It ended being very much that kind of story in some ways except that it does, after all, have some important speculative fiction elements and a bit more "adventure" to its storyline than originally planned. Also, a character who was somewhat second-tier in my mind when I started, took over the lead and made the whole thing very much about himself (that character-surprising-the-writer thing that I mentioned above). It also has a fair amount of content related to gay sexual matters in it, though I would characterize those passages not so much as erotic but rather as frank observations. Oh, and it has a freak dust storm and a giant zeppelin and an NPR radio show host in it, too.

Tags: nanowrimo

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