NaNoWriMo 2006

Sunday, December 3, 2006

When I finished NaNoWriMo last year, I was pretty sure I would do it again. In fact, for months afterward I was planning my next novel, a sequel to the first that would pit my characters against a more evil, more brutal villain than they’d met before.

Then, a few weeks before the start of November, I had another idea for a novel. This one would be the first in a series, and would be a science fiction, action-adventure story. In my head I fleshed out the basic story, along with the general flow I wanted for the entire series. This, I decided, would be my next novel.

As NaNoWriMo got closer, I had another idea for a novel. This was also science fiction, but definitely humorous. Something of a buddy story set in an alternate universe. By this time November was only a couple of weeks away and I really didn’t need to be changing my mind again. But, as I got to thinking about it, I realized that the “sci-fi action” story was a lot like my first novel, and that the “buddy” story was completely different. Completely different sounded like more fun — especially since I hadn’t done anything with my previous novel since printed it for me.

So that’s what I did. I finished at about the same time I did last year. In some ways, this novel was easier to write. My first novel I’d been planning for a year before I wrote it, and the structure was pretty well set going in. This one had a much looser structure — most of it is a road trip — so I had more room to experiment. Consequently, last year I reached the end of my story at about 25K and had to go back and write filler. This year I hit 50K well before the story was finished and just wrote a summary paragraph and the final scene to finish things up. Also, this one was just more fun to write. I always enjoy writing humor more than anything serious. Plus, road trips and space aliens are less emotionally draining than torture and arms dealers. But maybe that’s just me.

Some things were harder, though. Not having planned much for this story, I didn’t really know where I was going with it and felt a little lost sometimes. Also, Angela didn’t participate this year, so I found myself putting off writing more than I did last year. Not because of anything she did — she encouraged me to write, prompting me to get back to work whenever she didn’t hear “clickety-clack” coming from my computer. Still, I found myself spending each weekend catching up, yet never actually getting caught up until the very end.

And so the question once again is: Will I do it next year? Probably, although it would be nice not to have to. I’ve got dozens of stories bouncing around in my head. If I could get myself to write as much throughout the year as I do in the month of November, maybe I wouldn’t need the kick-in-the-pants that is NaNoWriMo.