Chuck Wendig (who you should absolutely be following on Twitter – his tweets about writing, fiction, and the industry are just too good to miss) over at terribleminds has been writing a lot about NaNoWriMo lately (including my favorite NaNo post of all time, 25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo). I’ve been following his posts on topics like genre, challenges, gimmicks, and giveaways for a little bit now.
Last week, he put up a survey of sorts for those participating and/or considering jumping in to the insanity of 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. My answers in obviously far-too-long-for-one-little-blog-comment-form (all in good practice for the word wars of the next month, of course!) follow!
Chuck says: So, the questions I have are these: Who out there is doing NaNoWriMo this year?
Who’s done it before?
How did you prepare for it, and what happened to those novels that you completed?
What were your experiences?
What are your thoughts?
Any wisdom to pass down to future participants?
Like it? Love it? Hate it?
First of all. Hello. I’m Tina (also known as atlimbo / littledupont / pasted / @theluckiestnet). On the NaNoWriMo forums, I’m littledupont. And yes, I’m a NaNoWriMo
addict, ack, participant. I have, indeed, taken part in the annual challenge before. Nine times, as a matter of fact, rather, this is my ninth go (started in 2003). Though I’ve only won twice (2005 & 2006). In 2006, I won a day early, hitting my lifetime record of writing 32,000 in one day. From then on I should have known I’d be hooked.
I’ve always been a bit crazy when it comes to planning. I basically get my plot idea (a general summary) figured out and then do character planning – I pick out celeb lookalikes, list their likes, dislikes, styles, quotes, personal histories, and personalities. I like to pick nicknames for them all. And then I just let them talk to me. It builds up, the week or two before November 1st, when you want to write, when they want to talk but you can’t yet, so on that first day I tend to get out the gate with a good 5-10 thousand words. Sadly, that’s most of my momentum right there. Post-writing (after taking a nice little break throughout December and the holidays), I’ve tended to just… Never get back to them. I love the writing part but the editing part feels like sticking forks into my eyeballs. Possibly the reason I’ve never pictured myself ever being published. I love the creative release of prose, but the only manuscript I’ve ever “finished” has been poetry. After years, I went back and started slowly but surely editing and fleshing out the first NaNovel I finished, known for lack of a better title as Carrie (it’s not Horror, though, rather very Chick Lit to be honest), but it’s been a slow (ok, nonexistent) process.
Other than failing to make the 50k and failing to actually do anything with what I do write, NaNoWriMo is one of my favorite times of year. I look forward to it more than I look forward Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday all wrapped up in one. I love the write-ins, the parties, the crowds, the sleeplessness, the friends. NaNoWriMo is an entirely social event for me, whereas normally writing is very solitary. I love it for that. I’ve been lucky to know (so far) two really great groups of NaNo-ers, #DCNano and the writers of the 757 (the Hampton Roads & VA Beach areas of Virginia). This is my first year in @NanoBoston and I’m excited to get to know the group – they’ve been so enthusiastic, encouraging, and welcoming already!
My only advice to people on the fence about NaNo would be to dive in. Don’t worry about the deadline, the word count goal, or the plot. Just dive in, get a feel for yourself, your voice, your fellow authors, and have a blast.