Monday, December 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo Lookback

I did it again.

I "won" NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), a competition for people who enjoy pain, coffee, and suffering. No, it really isn't a competition unless you count writing against a clock as a competition.  NaNoWriMo requires you to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  If you think that is easy, just try it.

There have been a number of books published that had first drafts created during NaNoWriMo, including a handful of best sellers.

Perhaps my manuscript, Gravesend, will be one of them.  One day.

This year, I came from behind in the last four or so days, writing almost every spare moment.  However, up to now, my manuscripts never went beyond the NaNoWriMo frenzy stage.

This year may be different.

A 17 year old girl by the name of Alex (for Alexander), living in a Brooklyn of the mid 21st century, took command of my book. She turned it into something I did not expect. Instead of the Young Adult dystopian novel I had started out with, it turned into a story of pain and suffering, but also a story of hope.  Also, I don't know what genre it is, but it is no longer Young Adult.


The beauty of NaNoWriMo is that you don't edit.  You just write and write and write.  You have this quota, the 50,000 words, to meet.  You don't have time to look over your shoulder.

I wrote just over 50,000 words.  

Now, the true work begins - in January, when I bring the manuscript back out, and take a careful look at it.  I have no training whatsoever in fiction writing, so this should be interesting.

How do I make my reader want to progress past the first page?  How do I draw him or her into turning each page, hungry for more?  How do I build the world of mid 21st century Brooklyn in a way that is is logical and believable?  And, what do I really want to say?  What is my message?

Or, I should say, what is Alex's message?

It's taken three years to get this far.

Now it's time to take a deep breath. Alex is waiting for me on the other side of 2014, and she won't let me stuff her back into my computer.

Alex, I'll try not to let you down.

14 comments:

  1. Congratulations and well done - that is an amazing achievement! It must be such a satisfying feeling to have met your goal. I wish you all the best in taking your fledgling novel to the next level!

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    1. Thank you. I will see how I feel about the novel in January - but, right now, it is still staying with me - I still want to finish it.

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  2. Hey, I nominated you for the Liebster award!
    Check out the post explaining what you have to do

    http://jinglejanglejungle.blogspot.com/2014/12/liebster.html

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    1. Again, thank you for thinking of me, Mary.

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  3. How exciting, Alana! I suggest you join a local face-to-face writing critique group! You will learn so much! You have a wonderful way of drawing your reader into your setting. You will learn how to develop the rest. Sooo pleased for you. I will be waiting to see what you do ... but I do advise you to go continue on! If you read my post today, you will see that the critique group actually helped to learn to share a book. It was invaluable. I couldn't have gotten the same kind of feedback online. =) Wishing you the best!
    Amy

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    1. The thought of joining a critique group has scared me in the past - I take criticism too personally, something a successful writer can not do. I know, intellectually, that I need to take this step. I read your post on your path to being a published writer, and it is inspiring. I will continue to work my way towards being able to do this.

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  4. Wow, congrats to you! I signed up for the NaNonFiWriMo version - but unfortunately, it did NOT go well for me. Just too many distractions and extenuating circumstances. :(

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    1. There's always next year for you - and, many people do not have the time for the commitment NaNoWriMo takes. I barely made it.

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  5. What an amazing achievement! I can't wait to read your final product next year when you get it going!

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    1. Well (grinning) first I do have to get it going. I'll see what happens in January, but I keep thinking of this story - it may just be a keeper.

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  6. Wow Alana: that's quite some feat! Congrats! Just curious, is this your FIRST attempt at fiction writing. If so, way to go! Pat yourself on the back! :) <

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    1. It's my second attempt. The first, though, was a fictional memoir based on a "what if" - if an actual situation in my life had happened in a different way. And, writing this has made me think about going back and making that first attempt into a "prequel" - something that happened in the past of Alex's world. We'll see.

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  7. Congratulations on the achievement! Waiting to read your story. :)

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    1. We'll see what happens when the editing stars in January. Maybe.

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