Thursday, October 29, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

I'm not doing it. I've done it for the last four years. Won three of those. And never did another thing with the stories. It's just too much work for me to feel like going back through those stories and editing them into something actually worth reading.

It wasn't a total loss. I learned a lot over time about plotting, about adding words regularly, about how I can push myself to work on my stories.

I'm going to be writing throughout November, anyway. Except, rather than the breakneck pace of 1,667 words per day that NaNoWriMo demands (for victory at least), I'm going to set my minimum word count for 500 words. Each and every day. I'm even going to start before November does. I'm not going to leave crappy scenes or misdirections in my text just for the sake of wordcount.

I really don't care for editing. I prefer to get the story pretty well the first time through. This often includes backing up, ripping whole chunks and chapters out of the story, and redoing the same section more than once (or twice.) It takes me longer to get there, but since editing to me often means ripping out chunks of story and going a completely different direction in this one scene and now the rest of the story is wrong and has to be ripped out too, it's not really worth writing to the 'end' or writing a large chunk if I'm not sure this one scene is right. (This strategy only works if you CAN make it to the end, rather than endlessly revising.)

I admire the people who find editing to be less daunting and can tear apart a finished story. I usually can't salvage much of a previous version. Some peices, but because scene A is changed, this exchanged in scene B doesn't make sense... and so on and so on.

I think NaNoWriMo can be a great learning tool for some people. Teaching them that they CAN *make* time to write, if they really want it, for example. And depending on the person, there are other lessons. But, after several years, I'm finding that it just doesn't accomplish what I'm looking for.

Good luck to any one participating in the frenzy of writing that is NaNoWriMo. May you learn much about yourself and your writing.

1 comment:

pattinase (abbott) said...

What I like the most is line editing-more than writing the original draft and certainly more than ripping it apart. I guess because I started with writing poetry, it comes most naturally to me. Finding the right word.