Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo

I should be working on my actual story right now, but thought I’d take a brief break to update on my NaNoWriMo progress.

Things are going ok.  I’d like to get it finished tonight, which will mean writing 8,000 words.  But, this afternoon work seems quiet and I’m shoving everything that isn’t urgent or important into tomorrow.  Then after work I’m going downtown to a 2.5 hour dedicated writing session.  I think I’m going to give everyone a magazine to whack me with if I start talking too much – :D  If I don’t finish tonight, I’ve got a few hours before work tomorrow morning.  They usually disappear on me, but maybe tomorrow will be different.

This year, I’ve learned a few very important things about me as a writer . . .

  • I think I’ve mentioned this once or twice before, but I love writing!  At least, I like the creative writing process.  There’s a lot more to it once the first draft is done.  I’m hoping I’ll learn to like those parts too (because yes, I would like to finish and edit a manuscript and then pursue publication somewhere.)
  • Planning and plotting are good things.  I need them.  They make me a better writer.  When I don’t have my course plotted out, my writing becomes loose and wishy-washy and get into a writing funk.  Some specific planning things that I like/need are:
    • Scene plans that include the conflict!  Stroke of absolute genius that one!  That way I don’t get half-way through a scene and realize it sucks because there isn’t any conflict.
    • I can’t hold maps in my head, I need to draw them out.  Maps of everything!  The Kingdom, the climactic battle, the Full Moon Inn, the little rebel town.  I need them!  They may look like a bunch of indecipherable squiggly lines, x’s, upside down v’s, and dots, but I can make sense of them and that’s what’s important.
    • I suck at names.  And I always pick fewer than I’m going to end up needing.  I need to start making long long lists.
    • I need to start all this planning wa-a-a-a-a-y earlier than one month ahead of time.  I’m starting the plan for my next book as soon as this one is finished it’s draft!
    • This TiddlyWikiWrite works really well to help organize all my scenes and thoughts and characters and link them together.
  • It pays to be nice to people.  Being social is a good thing.  It helps you network and makes it a generally more pleasant experience for all involved.

Ok, back to writing now.

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