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NaNoWriMo 2011 – A Month in Review November 28, 2011

Posted by shannonmuir in analysis, ebooks, fiction, giveaway, marketing, NaNoWriMo, novels, outline, plot, promotion, Sample, work in progress, Writing.
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I actually finished my NaNoWriMo work last week, so I’m going to use this week to talk about some of my experiences as part of my weekly blog. This was my seventh year participating in and completing National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is called for short. Basically, you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words of a first draft in the month of November. To spice it up for me if you will, I tried several things this year I hadn’t done before. Here’s my thoughts about those new twists.

1) WRITE AN OUTLINE: I know that must sound strange, but I’ve never gone into NaNoWriMo with an outline before of any depth. If you want to see the original outline for the book that became HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE, see yesterday’s blog as I shared it with the last of the Sample Sunday excerpts from NaNoWriMo. One of the things I did originally to keep NaNoWriMo interesting and challenging for me was to see what I could do under pressure without an outline. Between having the time to make a high level outline, and the feeling that I’d really gotten away from disciplining myself with outlining, I chose to make one. By Chapter 3 of the actual story though, I turned off the road and went on my merry way again. Much deeper and complex story, but whether or not the results ended up better in the end I’m not sure yet.

2) UPLOADING TO SMASHWORDS: One thing I hoped would help me stay on outline would be an obligation to others. I did this by taking advantage of Smashwords’ (a non-official sponsor’s) setting up of a NaNoWriMo area of their service to allow for the uploading of works in progress. I sent up portions of HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE as I finished them, immediately tweeting and occassionally Facebook messaging about each. It also served as a great publicity stunt of a kind to “have this rare opportunity to see a work unfold in progress”. Currently as a work in progress I have been offering it for free, though a final version might be charged for in the future, though still likely a nominal fee, I am deciding. Almost 100 people have taken advantage of this opportunity so far this month, and should be able to receive any future revisions I make at no extra charge even if I change the price, provided I understand how Smashwords works – this is why I still need to research and consider. However, while doing this was interesting, it failed to help with point 1 of staying on outline. I’m not sure if I would make this process as ‘exposed’ again in the future. If you would like to see the final first draft of HALF TRUTH AND FULL LYE I welcome you to.

3) ATTENDED MY FIRST-WRITE IN: This totally was not what I expected it to be. Being unemployed, I looked for a change of scenery and the hope to interact some with other writers. So I got up early one Saturday morning and hopped the bus to Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena (I live in Glendale) which was a relatively quick bus ride from where I live – about half an hour. I wandered around the store a little and then asked information where the writers were. His first response was, “oh we’re hiding them”. Now I think this was partially in jest, but it did ring of some accuracy. The actual location was in the Vroman’s meeting room two doorways over, it goes the bookstore followed by the cafe and then the Vromans’ offices. The actual writing was going on in what had a few classroom like settings facing a whiteboard in one half of the room and a conference table in the back part. So I felt like I did that day’s writing in a classroom environment on my little iPad with Bluetooth keyboard. They also spent the day focused on writing sprints which my poor little brain was just too tired to do by the last of the three sprints. However, I did get to go to one of my favorite restaurants in old Pasadena for lunch afterwards.

4) A LOT MORE WRITING AT HOME: In past years a lot of my NaNoWriMo writing happened on lunch breaks, as well as intentionally going out to dinner many niguts so I could write in restaurants. Being unemployed this year  during all of NaNoWriMo, a lot of my writing was done at home and I met daily requirements very quickly most days. On only one day did I intentionally come in under word count due to the day schedule I had, but finished the whole story not long after. It was both nice to have the ability to work at my desk more, but at the same time going out a lot less (which would be true even if I wasn’t writing) hasn’t bee the greatest thing. I miss contact with people to invigorate and inspire me, as point 3 above also underscores.

So… while happy to “succeed” yet again, it was definitely a mixed bag this year for me.




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