Previously I had polled my writing friends to get their input on participating in NaNoWriMo. There were a few that couldn’t get back with me right away with their responses.
Ticket to Write is Cassidy Frazee’s thoughts on NaNo.
I absolutely agree with Cassidy on several ponts here. I’ve seen some of the “first drafts” that people published through NaNo. One of the prizes for finishing NaNO, is that you get 5 printed copies of your book. That was an enticing little tidbit for me, but when I reached the end of NaNo, and had written my story, I realized that it was in great need of editing. There were plot holes that you could drive a fleet of semis through! That happens when I totally pants a project. It would have been the length of war and peace had I continued on the same path to reach the conclusion.
During NaNoWriMo, when I had lulls in my train of thought I would go back and edit. I removed scenes because they didn’t progress the story.
A lot of would be writers would greatly benefit from reading Robert McKee’s book. There is an art to storytelling. Unless you’re writing ‘The Neverending Story’ , or ‘1001 Arabian Nights’, then the story needs to hae a beginning middle and an end. Many books seem to get lost in the mire somewhere in the middle. That’s what I did with my NaNo novel. It got bogged down in scenes that werre fun, that were good writing but they didn’t move the story forward. Adventures are one thing but they were no more helpful than a gratuitous sex scene.
The true work of writing is in the editing. Anyone can write. Not everyone can write well. For those writer’s who consider themselves writers and not hobbyists, editing is a necessary and helpful tool. Sometimes it may seem like we’re in a bad bdsm scene, taking stripes on our backs – “thank you sir may I have another” – but ultimately it takes maturity to realize thaht your prose is perfect on the first, or even second draft.
Cassidy also referenced that it isn’t like a sprint, but more of a marathon. For the sake of NaNoWriMo, I will agree to a point. It’s definitely not a sprint. However, to me it was more like boot camp; 30 days of intense training. At first it was hard, but as the days wracked up and the word count climbed it got easier. I finished the designated goal – writing 50,000 words. I finished my story. I counted myself as a winner and was proud of myself for achieving a goal that I had set for myself.
I did not take advantage of the offer for five free copies because as I worked through that month, I would review and edit throughout the month. I knew it needed work. I knew I wasn’t satisfied with it. I’ve spent the better part of this year revising, refining, and editing that project. This isn’t a game to me, this is no longer a hobby. This is a passionate pursuit in which I want to create a quality product.
For those that take the challenge as a hobby, it’s a great experience. For those that take the challenge to help boost your self discipline I applaud you. We should always be challenging ourselves at some level, pushing beyond where we are now. If we don’t move forward, we tend to slide downhill.
NaNo WriMo is a major commitment. If you choose to participate, don’t do so flippantly. Also, I have to add here that if you are one of those people that post in Facebook ‘Epic Fail on NaNo today’. I will feel compelled to comment.
Write on my friends, write on!