Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo Ate my Friday/Monday Blogs

When 11:59 November 30th rolled around… I hadn't even finished putting all my words and all of the joint-scenes onto one document - much less a document of 50k words.

So, Team Wooldridge-Tohara started making sure the one who had an extra 2 hours before her 11:59 could make it.

As a team - we won!

My little "novelfriend" button won't get the purple bar, but Chris made sure to send me a badge and certificate. Because - between the two of us and our all nighters, we've not only got our story, but we've got its soul.

If I were doing this alone, it would be an unquestionable fail, though. And that's an important lesson for me.

I can write fast: when the muse has taken me and I don't need to stop and think and research.

I don't actually write as fast as I think I do. Even at the write-ins, where I wouldn't even open a browser or Twitter, where I had no phone or animal distractions. I'm not that fast of a writer.


I can't spew onto the page. I was always taught is don't do a job that you know you're going to have to fix later - and I have a damn strong work ethic.

Yes, I have heard enough times to turn off the critic and write - that you can't use both sides of the brain at once. I don't mean to sound elitist or egotistical, but that's most people. I can. I've got about 20 short stories, 2 completed novels of my own, and now 1 and about 3/4 of a joint novel completed. I think and write. I've been writing since I could come home and wave vocabulary quizzes at my mom in chubby kindergarten fingers.

What did I want from NaNoWriMo?

Ideally, a completed first draft. But, a first draft to the standard I/we hold a first draft. It had to be strong enough not to create quicksand holes near the end and to support the heavy duty editing we would do.

What we both got was a detailed blueprint, a solid foundation, several walls going up, our utilities picked out - and even the curtains and paint chosen. If we wanted to include our planning "meetings" on messenger, we'd have 100k in notes.

But that's not a story. It is a draft.

And both of us are happy with what we've got to play with for some time.

On the website, there were videos on how to pump one's word count by doing everything you don't want to do if you're a serious writer. Extra adjectives, adverbs, include dream sequences, a lot of detailed worldbuilding…

Well, we've got the detailed worldbuilding. It goes in its own "bible." Where it belongs. For us to pull from when we need a specific plot-moving, character-enhancing, setting-making detail. It doesn't all belong in the story.

We also probably already have way too many adjectives, adverbs, and unnecessary flashbacks, dream sequences and expository lumps. If I know I'm going to go back and cut about 50% or more of that crap already, why throw more useless ones in to pump up word count?

We wanted a story, not a word count. And… if the two of us manage to have a finished first draft that's less than 100k words… well, it'll probably be a miracle. And, if our beta readers actually come back and tell us, "You need to expand more on that," we'll probably faint in pure happiness. "You mean-you mean-you don't mean we have to CUT?!"

"Winning" of NaNoWriMo is personal. The community is wonderful and supportive, we're not writing against each other, and sometimes its good to turn of the critic entirely and write. Some people need to be reminded of that more than others.

I was so excited about the story we were working on last night, that I couldn't sleep. My grin is from ear to ear thinking of the next scene we're writing together. Tomorrow. The second I turn of my tutoring clock!

I almost made it to 50k words on my part alone… but I made better with my partner: I've fallen in love with this story and the characters. (I love my partner too, but statements like that often require explanations of us both also loving our wonderful husbands who - yet again this year - demonstrated saintly patience and support! Thank you, guys!!)

And that's what counts.

See you next year!


A Novel Friend © 2008 by para Você | Re-design Sweet Baby Girl