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It’s NaNoWriMo for the first time

It’s November, which means it’s time for those so insanely inclined to churn out a 50,000-word novel in 30 days in the name of arting like a motherfucker. In years past, I learned that November is my own personal novel-less month and that signing up for NaNo is only ever a sure path to disappointment and self-loathing.

However, THIS YEAR is different. All of the things that have traditionally demanded my time and attention in November are no longer a factor. On top of that, I’ve got the full support of the people I live with, which is a new and exciting condition for me.

In other words, LET’S DO THIS.

As a novelist, I’m somewhere on the Pantser end of the writing style spectrum, with only very slight Architect tendencies. Which is to say, I’ll come up with a few ideas about the general structure, and hope that all of the details fill themselves in as I go. The fact that I’ve never hit 50K by November 30th might be related to this approach in some way, but I concede nothing. When I make too solid a plan, I find my creativity constrained by its boundaries to the point of immobility. There’s a sweet spot somewhere in the middle, and sometimes that boundary has to be renegotiated on a chapter-by-chapter basis. The real problem with NaNo is having only 30 days in which to perform these negotiations.

How do you novel?

6 thoughts on “It’s NaNoWriMo for the first time

  1. One reason I’ve decided twice now not to do this is that in my attempts so far, I haven’t had a plot structure in mind. Usually all I have is a conflict and a few scenes. I think the people who are really successful at NaNo tend more in the architect direction. But I could be wrong and I hope you get your stuff onto the screen!

    • My real problem with trying to pre-engineer more of a structure is that if I can’t approach plot developments organically, they don’t make sense to me and I can’t *make* them make sense. So, like, I can’t see what happens two scenes from now until I’ve written enough of the events that set it up. And if I try to do it the other way around — knowing what happens and needing to set it up — I get lost in the logistics of how to make it happen.

    • What helps me plot is going in with a very clear sense of the characters. So I may not 100% know what’s going to happen, but when it does happen I 100% know how my characters will respond to it.

  2. “Arting like a motherfucker” LOL! Great, that makes it sound quite attractive, actually. Maybe I could join with my own private NaNoShriMo?
    But seriously, now that I have read your post, I can see why I have alwaya felt unable to weite long-form. I am not an architect either, and to the extent that my creative work (written or otherwise) anarchically lives and decides its own shape. I can never tell where my creative work leads me. Does it have to? Can a writer not just write on the basis of a general premise and then rewrite once it’s all been done? Whatever, I hope you’ll have lots of time to do it this month. I know you can!

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