Monday, November 23, 2009

What NaNoWriMo is Teaching Me

NaNoWriMo has been a really eye-opening and encouraging experience. I've discovered a lot about myself as a writer and as a person. I think I've come a long way towards figuring out what process works best for me (a perfectionist control-freak) to get a working first draft.

Approaching this story like I would a film has made all the difference. I write scenes and leave them open to change. I consider this first draft the same as filming the movie. When making a movie you use the script as a guide, you film everything and then some, and then the real fun comes from sitting down in the editing room and seeing what you have and how it best fits together. Editing is probably one of my favorite things in the world. To me it's where the real storytelling comes in.

I think it also helps that I had a concrete ending when I started. I didn't outline but I knew exactly where my story started, the central conflict, and the whole action packed ending. I had pretty detailed notes on my two main characters too. Writing towards the big finish, and seeing the pieces come together that lead up to it is a lot of fun. Getting to the end is one of the things that's kept me going these past three weeks. Hopefully I'll feel like it was worth it when I finish this week!

Somewhat Surprising Stuff I've Learned About Myself:
1. Despite considering myself a visual person (hello, filmmaker!) when drafting, the only description I tend to write is internal/emotional.

2. I am totally emo. Nothing makes me happier than oodles and oodles of angst (especially angst with kissing!). This shouldn't be surprising to me given that in my past life as a vidder all my vids were heavy on the angst, but somehow it was.

3. I have a limited emotional vocabulary (or okay, a potty mouth). When my characters are upset, they drop F-bombs and I don't even notice. Not even when reading through what I wrote. Although, oddly, my female MC almost always says fricken rather than the F-bomb because that's just the way she talks.

4. Every single day feels like I can't possibly write anything worthwhile, and then I do. For me, I've found that writing is all about courage. You face your fear of failure and wade right back into the mess you made. Every day.

5 comments:

Rain Maiden said...

I have a lot of respect for anyone who writes. I couldn't do it, but I love to read it. Stick to and just keep breathing.

Anna said...

"Every single day feels like I can't possibly write anything worthwhile, and then I do."

I've been feeling like that pretty much every day this month! I'm a bit behind in my word count, but I love that I can see potential in my story, even if it's a complete mess right now.

Good luck getting to the end!

Shelli said...

i love the last one. I feel the same way.

Sara ♥ said...

Absolute best lesson learned? Your number 4! So fantastic :-)

PS I left a little something for ya on my blog
:-)

Patty said...

I'm a writer too and the first time I did NaNo last year I realized, when I finished, I can ACTUALLY do this! It opens a real awesome path.

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