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National Novel Writing Month redux

December 9, 2017

My first National Novel Writing Month -NaNoWriMo did terrible things to my ego, and I’ve been finding excuses not to write since then.

On the upside, by trying to write a novel in 30 days learned a lot.

Next time around, I need to:

  • Set aside more time.
    I don’t type as quickly as I thought I could.
    The arthritis in my joints and scars on my fingertips make for a great excuse, but the cold hard truth is that my lack of organization and tendency to repeat mistakes slowed me down.
  • Organize notes/ideas in a single location.
    I kept information scattered across Scrivener, notepad++, plain text files, and hand written notes.
    Which left me struggling to find anything
  • Layout rough story/character arcs
    My writing style is almost stream-of-consciousness. Which is great for getting the basic premise down on paper, but requires twice as much time to break it down into scenes that I can edit than it did to write it in the first place.
    A slow tedious process is okay if you don’t have a deadline, but 50K words in a month is a bitch.
  • Start researching now.
    I spent more time than I had allotted researching and trying ideas.
    For instance, I wrote about a professional thief and was amazed by how little I know about locks and alarm systems.
    For future reference, I’m going to research and make detailed notes, before committing to a project like this.
  • Make a basic character sheet and stick to it.
    My protagonist started out as one of those guys who would see a burning building and rush in to save a little girl’s kitten. But, at the end, my stalwart hero would see a burning building and rush out to buy marshmallows.
    –I like the second guy better, because, for better or worse, at least he’s not boring.
  • The bottom line is, I need to Get Organized!

    This is something else a writer suggested.
    As an exercise, pick a situation and write the first character, then wait a day, and put another personality in the same situation and so-on until I find someone I like.

    The others can become sidekicks, bureaucrats, or generic background characters.

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