NaNoWriMo – Winner!

Winner-Congrats

I reached the magical 50,000 words this morning and have to admit I felt a mixture of emotions when the final winner’s screen popped up in my browser, seconds after copying my manuscript into the word validator.

There was relief I’d finally completed the task I set out to do but also a great sense of achievement. I’d set myself a goal, a challenge if you like, and I had succeeded. Believe me there were a few times when I wanted to give up!

So what have I learnt from this years NaNoWriMo?

  1. Perserverance, undoubtedly! Just stick with what you tasked yourself to do despite those voices in your head. Keep your mindset positive and focus on getting those words onto your computer screen.
  2. Ensure you prepare. It’s not just what you do during the month, but also the days or weeks that precede that. I’m a planner and I need to know what I’m going to write about. This involves having a synopsis and some outline character profiles which I can develop as I write. Of course, you may be a pantser in which case you can forget all that!
  3. Plan your writing schedule! Decide when and where you’re going to write. Review your diary, there will be dates where you know you just won’t fit it in. Ensure your daily word count goals reflect this.
  4. Even as a planner, you will find a need to alter the direction of your storyline or review your cast of characters. I thought my synopsis was detailed but several inconsistencies were noticeable as I progressed my writing. Don’t worry too much about it as these can be sorted out in the revision process. There were also a couple of characters who I gave bigger roles to in the story. Other characters developed as the story progressed and I began to understand their motivations more clearly, if that makes sense?
  5. It’s only a first draft! Don’t beat yourself up over what appears to be garbage yo’re typing onto the screen. Some of it might be, but some of it won’t be. It’s a first draft, no one is going to read it unless you want them to. Some of it you’ll keep and a lot of it you’ll either omit or revise. You’ll even add more to it as you think of about it. That’s what the revision process is all about. Remember, without a first draft there is no revision process and no finished work!
  6. The second week was the hardest for me. I really felt I was wading through a quagmire and could of given up on more than one occassion. This goes back to my first point, perserverance. But it does get better!
  7. Is it a good method to write your first draft! It did work for me. The challenge of writing so many words was daunting but gave me the motivation to atually end up with something tangible at the end of the process. It is certainly a method I will try again!
  8. What happens now? For me, I’ll be putting the first draft aside. For how long, is up to the individual. I’ll take another look mine in the New Year with a view to starting an initial revision process, but I may leave it a little longer.

It’s been a worthwhile endeavour and I’ve achieved something at the end of it as well as learning a lot about myself in the process. Here’s to next year!

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NaNoWriMo – Day 21

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Day 21, and it’s been a good third week of NaNoWriMo.

Week two was a bit of a grind, to be honest, but week three has been much better. I’ve kept to my daily personal target of 2,000 words and have managed to churn out 42,484 words. The end goal of 50,000 words is well and truly in sight!

I should end up with a first draft and this will give me a good manuscript to work with during the revision process. There will be detail to add, delete and revise I am sure, but I am more confident now that I can turn this particular writing project into a finished article.

The synopsis I will redraft to iron out minor flaws and inconsistencies I have come across whilst I have been writing. I also need to work out individual chapter contents and structure. Finally, I’ll revise the character profiles as I have developed some of the characters as I have written the draft. This will help the revision process to ensure they stay within character and not go AWOL!

Hopefully, all downhill from here! Wish me luck.

Horace
A draft cover for NaNoWriMo, but not the final one.

NaNoWriMo – Day 14

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Two weeks into NaNOWriMo and I’m still here writing! These last few days have been tough, though.

I’ve kept on track with my 2,000 word daily target and have reached the grand total of 28,236 words! It was a big incentive to pass the halfway mark (so I kept telling myself!) but it’s a long downhill stretch from here.

The book I’m writing is a fiction title. It’s about a man called Horace. He’s just retired and has all these plans for retirement. A structured plan, but all that changes on the morning of his retirement party. There … that’s  the teaser!

I wasn’t sure about this story, hence the reason the synopsis has been sitting around on my laptop for some time. I didn’t really know whether I had the enthusiasm for the characters and the storyline to finish it. Anyway, I decided I’d give it a go for this year’s NanNoWriMo. The more I’ve written, the more enthusiastic I have become about the storyline and the characters.

What I thought was a fairly detailed synopsis, probably isn’t. I am finding some flaws in the plot line which I’ll need to address, but my focus is in completing a first draft of all the scenes. After that I can focus on tightening the synopsis and being comfortable that the characters’ actions are consistent with how they should behave. And then comes the revision process …

But first I need to see out this month and get this draft finished!

NaNoWriMo – Day 10

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Well I’ve reached Day 10 of this year’s NaNoWriMo. A third of the way through and I’m still writing! What’s more I’ve managed to keep to my ambitious daily schedule of 2,000 words taking me to the grand total of 20,212 words to date.

I thought I had a fairly robust plot outline but I am finding a few holes in it as I write my story. I’m not too worried at this stage. I suppose if I wasn’t taking part in this initiative I’d go back and rethink some aspects of the outline before continuing. But I can do that later as I still have plenty of scenes to write. I’d rather focus on competing the first draft and look at any revision to the manuscript when I start that particular process.

This is my first fiction attempt and I have been quietly entertained and amused by the way some of the characters seem to have a mind of their own. The storyline has changed as a consequence.

I kow it’s going to get harder as the month progresses but it’s certainly given this particular writing project of mine a kickstart and the incentive to get it finished!

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo

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I’ve taken a little time off from Horace over the last few months and as a consequence I’m way behind the deadline I set myself for that first draft.

So to try and kickstart myself into action I’m taking part in the yearly National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) initiative. The objective will be to complete 50,000 words during the course of the month of November which will be a heck of a challenge for me. It won’t get me quite back on track but should go along way towards my original timescale expectations for the project.

I’ve taken part in this initiative before and whilst I’ve never achieved the 50,000 word target it certainly is a good way to get you motivated. Joining some of the forums means that you can share your woes with other participants. Definitely recommended for the budding writer!

Wish me luck!

Horace – A Working Title!

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It’s been a little while since I posted on this blog. I’ve had a break from my writing since my last self-published memoir – Discovering My Suomi Roots. Guess what? I’m itching to get started with another writing project!

Some time ago I started a fiction work but never finished it. I think the thought of a writing project approaching novel length scared me off somewhat. After all, previously I had only written short stories. And so that led me to embark on a “step by step” approach and build up my word count for my writing projects. Hence the three self-published titles I completed over the last 18 months.

So now it’s time to clean the dust off that old manuscript. I have a few ideas to change it slightly and maybe write it from a different viewpoint to the original partly finished draft.

What’s subject matter? Briefly it’s about a man called Horace who has just retired but whose retirement plans are turned upside down. It’s not a quasi-memoir, but I guess I can relate to some aspects of it having retired almost five years ago. The title? Well I haven’t figured that out at the moment but for now we’ll just use the working title of Horace.

Like my other projects I have set myself an initial timescale for completion of the first draft. Hopefully I can achieve this by the end of November this year. With the editing process I should be looking at a finished work sometime during H2 next year (2018). That’s the plan anyway!

I’ll endeavour to post some regular updates to this blog updating my progress. Wish me luck!

 

First Draft Complete – Now The Real Work Begins!

Finally I finished the first draft of Discovering My Suomi Roots on time (by a couple of days!). Now the real work begins!

The first draft I always find hard work. I’m more of a plotter than a pantser that’s for sure. But, despite all the  planning at the outset, I still find it hard working my way through to completion. Somehow I manage to plod along convincing myself it will all be worth it in the end.

My planned structure and content for a writing project always has to be flexible. As I am writing I find other detail I have overlooked for inclusion. Or ideas on how I might tell the story differently suddenly strike me. So there has to be some flex in your plan.

It is very tempting to look back and start rewriting parts of your writing that you know will have to be rewritten. Avoid this! Your focus needs to be aimed at completing the initial draft. Revision comes later!

Once completed, for me, the enjoyable part comes next. I find the revision process much easier. You have something tangible to work with even if you are working with a very rough first draft. My words and thoughts flow easier. I am much more relaxed as the story starts to come to life and take shape.

But without that first draft there can be no revision process!