Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What I Learned from NaNoWriMo

Let me say right up front that I didn't meet the goal of 50,000 words. But I wrote about 20,000 words more than I would have written otherwise.

I learned to push myself to a new level. The greatest thing I discovered was the idea of doing 20 minutes sprints. I can focus really well for about that long. If I know I'm racing the timer I find that I do pretty well at keeping at it. When I got stuck  and didn't know what to write, but was still racing the timer I created a box right in the middle of my manuscript and started interviewing one of the characters. I asked them every question I could think of about that particular situation. I eventually found something that triggered in my head and got me back to writing the real story again. I love the boxes, because I can go back to them now as I'm looking through it again and know right away that it is an interview that may help me finish developing that section.

About halfway through the month one of the interviews led me to realize I had put a character in the wrong place from the beginning. Ouch! What a painful realization. But the cool thing is, once I accepted the facts, I just kept writing forward with that character trapped where she needed to be and didn't really have to start over at that moment. As I am rewriting from the beginning and editing all the chapters that changed because of this major factor, I'm pretty excited to see things happening that couldn't happen without this character in the right place.

What about next year? I'm doing it again. This time I'll be really prepared and I'll write all 50,000 words. I was just warming up this year.

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