December is nearly gone! November, I can’t even remember it flew by me so quickly. I participated in NaNoWriMo as I have been doing in the last two years and I WON this year. Finally.
So what was it? I finished a rough first draft of short stories that would be a companion to my main writing project. I am so in love with these characters and this world that I’m writing and since I had a lot of material to work with—why not? Writing these short stories was–I wouldn’t say it was easy because I definitely had moments where I didn’t know what would happen next, but it was familiar and really gave me a chance to explore the lives of these characters in the time before the events of my main wip. Events that I have been recounting in my head for me to know and thread the main story from there but that I hadn’t really written down fully.
I am a quasi-plotter/pantser, which is an approach that has so far worked for my writing. I plot a little and leave room for the story to grow and the characters to take me wherever they need to go. Sounds cryptic, but it’s worked. It’s a perfect balance between knowing what you want from the story and its characters while also being flexible and letting the story breathe and lead you where it wants to go. Which sometimes is not where you, as the writer had planned, but somehow works in the end.
For these stories, I knew these characters (I’ve been writing about them for a few years now) but there was so much, I didn’t know and was definitely not expecting to write. So 50,000 words of a new story done. I’m not entirely sure when I’ll begin revising it, but at least the words are on the page. Revising it will be pending until after the holidays for sure.
My main wip is done. It has been revised, and lots of parts have been rewritten and read and critiqued and revised and… well there’s been a lot of that. While I wrote the short stories, I took some time away from it. During this time not only did I write something new, related but new, but I had some time to refresh.
How is it that we can’t often bring ourselves to refresh all on our own?
It was hard to do. I wanted to keep working on it in any way that I could ALL while working on my new project. I’m sure it’s possible, and many authors out there are often managing multiple projects, but this writer is just learning the ways. I did manage to revise and put some final touches before leaving it completely alone.
Last year I had wanted to do the same. In fact that had been my plan: to revise AND write something new. It didn’t happen because I was still in the middle of learning how to revise. I tried several techniques until I found one that worked for me. That took time of course so I decided to focus on one project instead. At the time I felt a lot of pressure because I thought that as a beginning writer I had to have stories coming out of drawers ready to submit to places.
Over the past year, I’d like to say that I’ve come a long way. I’ve learned more about what works for me and my writing, what doesn’t and how the key is to be flexible. Every writing project is going to demand something different. Every new job is new people, new environment, new tasks, and procedures. So this year, I knew that it was necessary to take some time from the main wip and just let it all settle.
Not winning NaNo in the previous years taught me how time constraints and word counts are not for everyone–it taught me to value my work and it’s quality, to take one step at a time—learn to walk before you take giant leaps. Winning NaNo taught me the importance of consistency, commitment to your work, getting the story out, moving proficiently from point A to point B but also moving from point B all the way to point F and back to point A etc. The important thing was to write the story in whatever order it came. Not sure whether my NaNo project will ever see the light of day, I hope it does, but I mostly wrote it because I wanted to know what happened before the events of my main story. I’ve been wanting to write these stories for a really long time and now I’m glad that I did.
Now it’s time to move on to the next step which brings me closer to….starts with a ‘q’ ends with a ‘y’.