Monday, December 05, 2011

Welcome to the NaNoWriMo Post Game Report

Last Wednesday was the end of National Novel Writing Month. I 'won' before Thanksgiving and I mentioned that here. I'm continuing to win because this is the first year in the four years I've participated in NaNoWriMo that I understand more of the craft of writing. My craft.

Joseph Campbell
This year's novel has structure (even though my first effort and last year's did, too) and a solid theme (which none of the other three really did)  that's reenforced throughout the manuscript to this point. (That's a new bit, the reenforcement of theme.) My main character has depth and a past that keeps echoing what's going on in her present. The danger still needs some work, but she has a strong supporting cast that is carrying her through. (Don't get me wrong: there's danger there, I just have to amp up the volume a lot.)

What made the difference this year is the increase in the amount of research I did in October and my attending the local write ins. I can't say enough about how my NaNo group helped me to push myself harder to write more. I stayed up later, wrote more often and just generally really poured myself into the work this year. Even though I thought I'd done that last year and the year before (first year was really a lark) this time was different. I was involved in my writing and the writing of others in the group. We helped each other with a word, a phrase, an idea or just by laughing together. I realized (finally) that all the psychological stuff that goes along with being a writer is something everyone experiences and having friends like these who understand is crucial.

Carl Jung
And of course, it's tiring. It's work writing that many words on a tight deadline. The work requires things of you that those who don't do it don't understand. If you're an accountant trying to understand what it takes to physically build a house and you don't know how to swing a hammer, you'll never understand that there's a reason why the plumbing has to go there. I'm tired because I've had my brain in overdrive for about six weeks and I've been immersed in the writing culture of my group of friends. We've been reenforcing positive writing energy with each other for a month. We're all exhausted.

So this is where we all take a little time off and kick back. Except I don't want to. I have another 25,000 words to write to get the zero draft of my novel done. I want to get this novel done and then go back and edit it and see if I can do anything with it. Right now, deep in the throes of it, I think it's really good. (I thought that with my first novel, too, but that wasn't the case. That one was only kinda-sorta okay.) I'm pushing to have this draft done before Christmas and I mean to do it.

I've done an enormous amount of work so far and it's only a little farther to the end now. NaNoWriMo is done, though I am not. And once the draft is finished, the real work of polishing and making it good begins.

Don't let anyone think that writing is easy. The ACT of writing is easy. Writing something good is hard. It's supposed to be. If it was easy, anyone could do it. Just like quantum physics. Or baseball.


S.E. Lundberg said...

I'm super excited to read your story. It was so much fun to have you at all of the write-ins this year! You're so right - writing is WORK. But having you guys around for water cooler commiseration makes the work more fun. Good luck on finishing Juggy and the Duchess. Let us know if we can help you push through til the end.

Jason Arnett said...

Thanks, Sara! I guarantee I'm going to need some kicks and shoves to finish it. I always have to face The Fear in order to get to the end. Thing is, I can't imagine any other work I'd like to do more.

Rachel said...

NaNo is over for the year, but the core group is still here for you. We need to stick together year round. We're not just writers in November, and the help and encouragement that pulled each other through a single month is so important the rest of the year. I'm looking forward to reading what you've created, but I'm also looking forward to watching it grow into something even better over the next months.

Jason Arnett said...

Thanks, Rachel! I'm working away at it every day now even though my pace is slowed a little. I think our little band will be better than ever in the new year.