What I learned from NaNoWriMo

For some crazy reason, my first attempt to pub this blog failed; guess WordPress is having their issues…

Anyway, I wanted to share what I learned from my introductory nano experience==2016 is my first year at this. I hesitated in past years because I either missed the start of the month or had more pressing things to attend to (I conduct bible studies and sometimes I do it in sprints of 30 days). So since my crit partner was doing nano for a ‘real’ project (she has an agent) and I had a story idea, I decided to try it.

One thing about me, I hate to fail. I am also a trained and certified project manager so I hate disorganization, too. Those two things helped me get to 50K in 19 days. But that wasn’t the main impetus. Let me explain…

I had been reading two books before nano: 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron and an article I found by Cheryl Klein. Rachel’s book helped me learn to do a lot of upfront work so that there was no question about where I was going in the story. Cheryl’s article showed me how to set up a matrix for each scene; an action/reaction approach.

Both of these were instrumental in easing my anxiety going into the challenge.

I also made sure I knew all my characters – names, background, motivation, role  – and wrote those down. I found my theme, story point, and even determined the ending. These also helped me create a manuscript ‘shell’ that I could fill in at will. I ‘d basically built the house and now I was ready to add the furniture and decorate.

I also used Scrivener for the first time. The scenes I created fit well into the tool and it helped me avoid frustration since I didn’t have to look at an entire ms at once. I could write each scene as a self-contained story and combined with Cheryl’s goal/obstacle>But>Therefore approach I was able to weave them all together.

The next thing I did was create a map of my world so that I knew where everyone would be and how they would get there (I am revising now to make sure I did that correctly and that I did not overwrite my descriptions of the scenery. I had fun with that part).

Last, I created a schedule I could maintain: I work full time so I had to write 30 min. in the morning, during my lunch, and after dinner. My goal was 2,000 a day but I ended up around 3200 because I knew my story and where it was going.

So there you have it. Now I’m off to work. Have a great one and keep on writing!