History That Never Was

Home of Dawn Vogel: Writer, Historian, Geek

NaNoWriMo recap

I’ll do the November recap later on, especially since there’s not much to report for November. I was busy writing a novel. Or possibly two.

I started out the month with a clear outline, and was able to charge forward and get a good headstart. This was important, because every November we go to AmberCon NW, which knocks out typically 5 days of writing for me. I also had a goal of finishing on Thanksgiving, because I had a craft show scheduled for the 29th and 30th (getting ready to head out for the second day right now).

As you can see from the graph of my word count, below, things slowed down after those first few days, and then I hung out behind the recommended word count for quite a while.

Turns out, as I was chugging away at my novel, I didn’t love it. My goal was to write something all epic and Game of Thrones-like, but what I had was a weird action-adventure novel that probably read a lot like a retelling of a D&D adventure, with a bit more clever dialogue between the characters.

So after finishing Chapter 13, I stopped, turned everything from Chapter 6 through 13 grey, and then went back to the end of Chapter 5 and took the story down a different path. That, I discovered, was absolutely the right decision. Suddenly, I got to keep the character who had shown up in Chapter 4, which the original outline required me to kill off almost immediately. And while there is something to be said for doing awful things to your characters, killing off the potential love interest was far more kind than all of the things I could do if I didn’t kill him off.

In the end, I passed 50,000 words relatively early on Thanksgiving, and managed to write a tiny bit more that evening with some of my friends. The story is not quite done, and I think I may have just written the first act in a GIGANTIC book. Okay, maybe not as gigantic as the Game of Thrones books, but still, bigger than anything I’ve ever written before.

But the good news is that with a little bit of tweaking, all of that action-adventure stuff from the original novel might be reused as the second act of the book. Which, among other reasons, is why you always keep all of the words you write for NaNoWriMo, even if you don’t plan to use them.

So now, I need to find time to finish the first act, and then decide if that should stand alone (it will probably only be about 40,000 words in its first draft), or if I should keep going and make this a big novel. It may have to wait until spring–they have a Camp NaNoWriMo in April, and another in July, both of which might help with the enforced discipline I need to get through big chunks of writing. But I’ve got short stories to finish and to write, with actual target markets for them, so I’m going back to that for the next couple of months, at least.

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