I’ve done National Novel Writing month since 2007, but it wasn’t a culmination of years or decades of talking big about wanting to be a writer, but not finishing a novel.
I was happy about being a greedy reader for decades: bags of books every month or so from Waldenbooks, haunting library book sales, cons, and used book shops, and most of all, shelves everywhere, many of them bending under too many books. I wrote a handful of short stories for school, but that never did anything fpr me, though I enjoyed hearing authors and artists telling stories from the trenches. I was a reader.
An old friend had told me about NaNo when they wanted to write a paranormal story for that NaNo. I wanted to read it when it was done, but like many adult friendships it faded after changes in jobs and geography. NaNo wasn’t interesting enough to me to spend time or effort when those earlier stories were so painful to write. But I knew about NaNo.
Well November 7th the writing bug hit hard. I was dissatisfied with a story ending and I wanted a better one. It was just plain odious both within the story and for the meta business level. Ever try to demand a better one with a movie, book, or game? They just ignore complaints, so check out the useless response after ME3. Still that left me with a burning need to fix it. That’s when my muse woke up and smacked me and I became a writer.
Twenty-three days later I had a fifty thousand word draft of my first fanfic. Despite its value as training wheels, there isn’t much respect for fanfics. Some are terrible, but there are a lot of good stories as long as you remember Sturgeon’s law. I hope my fanfics written for NaNo were above average, but I was practicing plot, character, and most importantly getting the damn words down on the paper/screen at a reasonable pace.
Now this was my sixth Nano success in 2014, and if you’re counting I missed two years with one in the hospital. Some story ideas were not in others’ sandboxes, but either way, the stress and pressure to make that November 30th deadline narrows your focus. I find it functions for me like a booster shot for my diligence. The two years I skipped, were not happy. That first week after NaNo I’m exhausted and burnt out and writing email is a chore.
A week has passed since NaNo, though, and I was getting antsy toward the end. I have to revise and finish the last story and the last four days were very rough, enough that chunks were written as summary and handwaving. I have to finish that and then comes the serious part of revision.
Revision on zero budget, wish me luck.
I have some flash stories and a nearly finished fanfic posting, but this has been a good week. For only a Wednesday night: I already finished a 500 word flashfic and a fanfic revision chapter as a break from the NaNo beast. Back to the Salt mines for Thursday.