It's the end of October. In the writing community, this signals the approach of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - more info on that here), which means most writers are freaking out online, trying to prepare for writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Crazy, right?
I participated in NaNo last year, when I produced a pretty useless first half of a first draft of a contemporary romance. I won, I wrote just over 50k words, but it was a horrible, stretched-out, sticky mess of a story. I wrote myself into a corner and never finished that draft. I salvaged some things, namely the setting and the characters: they became integral parts of my first novel, Here to Stay (which I'm currently editing - slowly).
The funny thing is: I did plan the novel. I decided a week before NaNo that I would be participating and sketched out my story, setting, and characters. But it wasn't nearly enough. See, I'm a planner/plotter through and through. I'm lost without an outline because I'll get mired down in pointless dialogue and long descriptions. Most of all, if I don't know where I'm going, I'm not enjoying my writing as much. I think it has to do with my personality - when traveling, for example, I always know what I want to see, how to get there, and how much the admission costs. Writing isn't that different.
So this year, I created a plan. I started outlining and brainstorming and researching as many aspects of my story as possible. I know where I'm going and what needs to happen on the way. I think I know my characters pretty well and I hope they'll behave. For some writers, this sounds like a nightmare. They want to discover the story and the people they're writing about as they go along, but that just doesn't work for me. I think it's really important to find out the perfect approach for you and then stick with it if it works.
This doesn't mean that I'm all relaxed and zen about NaNo. My difficulty will lie in finding enough time to write - I have a 2-month-old baby (I'm on maternity leave) and a 2-year-old boy, I still have to do some freelance work stuff, and also preferably not neglect myself, my husband, or our apartment. Writing about 1,700 words each day (without the possibility of taking weekends off to catch up) will be the real challenge for me.
I'm super excited about my project! It's a paranormal shapeshifter romance that I've had on the backburner for years now. It's one of the first romances I've ever tried to write and I feel like I've known the characters forever. I haven't created a book page for it yet (I think I'll wait until I have a first draft for that, you never know what happens!) but I have a lovely mood board on Pinterest if you want to take a peek - and you do, trust me.
It's mostly character and mood inspiration. ;)
Anyway, I want to know all about your NaNo project (if you're participating)! Have you registered on the NaNo page? My profile is here, so add me as a buddy. I'll need all the cheering when November starts.