NaNoWriMo – A Look Back

A Man on a Misty Road

This isn’t going to be one of those posts I’ve been doing, you know, a few words on NaNoWriMo and my progress. Instead, I’m going to talk about what I learned this time, what I think of NaNoWriMo as a whole, and some general thoughts.

Over the course of NaNoWriMo this year I finished the first draft of my fourth novel. Now, interestingly, I have some changes to make to it, but I don’t think there will be many story edits. I outlined the hell out of it, so I knew exactly what was going to happen in each chapter, what the arcs were, who the characters were going to be at the beginning and who they were going to be at the end. A few things changed during the story, but that was mostly events happening slightly sooner or later. I do mean slightly. The biggest shift was one chapter earlier or later.

This is a far cry from my last successful NaNoWriMo two years ago, where I actually reworked the novel from a single perspective to multiple perspectives, changed the ending to better reflect the characters I had built, and overall made the novel a completely different beast.

So, I guess my first lesson was that being a plotter is good. The writing didn’t lose anything, in fact, I think it gained something.

Most of my edits will be line edits, but there are going to be a lot of line edits. I will need to rework the language, the dialogue, the descriptions. All of that could be much better than it is right now, and it will be.

I’m also in a weird position. The book I just finished is technically a sequel. The first book isn’t written though. I put it on hold because of NaNoWriMo.

I also realised that I like to switch projects – one or two from a series, then move to something else. I can get back to it, and I have lots and lots of stuff planned for the world of the dead series, I have my Nic Styx series planned and I’m totally excited to work on that. I have a lot of stand-alone stuff as well. I’m also thinking about revisiting Spellcraft and Heavy Artillery – I have the planned structure and I’m at about a quarter of the way in. I’m thinking of releasing that as a series of shorter e-books, each one being basically a Novella. That way I can have frequent releases.

These are all thoughts that have come out of the NaNoWriMo process.

Some thoughts on it in general: There are a lot of writers out there, and I don’t know if it’s necessarily great for those of us in the business to have the market flooding with new stuff a few months after November every year. On the other hand, I think having more stories in the world is a good thing and I’m happy about it. I think the number of books for sale and the highly competitive market has more to do with Amazon than it does NaNoWriMo. Also, my first time doing it is what showed me I could finish a project on that scale. I would never have gone down this path without it.

If you are thinking of doing NaNoWriMo I recommend giving it a shot, see what kind of story you have inside you.

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