Sunday, April 12, 2009

NaNoWriMo Commitments Reviewed

Back in November, I participated in the National Write a Novel Month.  The goal is to write 50,000 in the thirty days allotted, with the hope that the knowledge that thousands of others across the world were also participating would urge the writer on to completion.  I have tried in previous years to accomplish this, but have always fallen short.  Either I didn't put enough effort into thinking about it and didn't ever start, or I started but would hit a roadblock and would give up early into the contest.  2008, however, was different: this time I muddled my way through, fought through the roadblocks and finished triumphantly.  Finishing the 50k words is only the beginning, however.

It is now April, about four and a half months later and I haven't really taken another look at my "novel."  It is 50k words, sure, but it is far from being anything worth sharing.  In March, there was a NaNoEdMo, with the same idea of a group of people doing this together would accomplish what they could never get around to doing on their own.  I tried, but my heart still wasn't into it.

I remember too much of what I don't like about my novel.  I know that there are scenes that need to be cut, areas that need to be rewritten and entire concepts redeveloped.  It will be a lot of work, maybe as much or more than actually writing it in the first place.  I've said all along that it is easier to fix something than create something new, but I think that only applies if I can get myself started.

Fortunately one of the friends I made during the NaNoWriMo event via one of the forums I frequent had also finished his novel.  Ted has succeeded several times doing the NaNoWriMo and had a more finished product than I did when he was done.  I volunteered to edit/proofread for him and it was a great experience for me.  I was thrilled to see how another person handled certain situations that I found I was having trouble writing.  It was also an interesting story and I am very pleased that I was able to critique it. 

In doing this for my friend, it turned on my editing-mind.  Though I still expect it to be a lot of work, I am "in the zone" when it comes to proofreading.  My plan is to detail my efforts here, recording my planned processes and also the eventual reality of attempting those processes.

My first step is going to be to read through my novel, just as I had for Ted.  Even though I know there are huge areas that I don't like, I am going to treat the whole thing as being completed and take notes.  When I am complete, I will go through and make the edits I suggested.

The other task I will be attempting to undertake is to create a timeline of events.  I created my novel in a haphazzard way: I jumped around, writing pieces and scenes that were interesting to me and filling in the details and connections later.  In doing so, I lost track of certain details and am pretty sure that there are things that don't make sense.  Though, I would definitely like to try writing this way again; it was very interesting to discover things about the characters and the world my characters lived in, as things were revealed in a way similar to actually reading a novel.

My goal is to accomplish my read-through and timeline by the end of April.  We'll see what the next step is when I am done with those.

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