NaNoWriMo Update # 1

Written by Richard Pulfer.  Originally posted on Blue Yonder.

Well, I’m off to a pretty good start for Nanowrimo. I’ve got 5048 words so far, giving me about 1682 words in the last three days, which is just about right. I still need to do my writing for today, but that probably won’t happen until mid-afternoon, and right after I clock out of work at midnight (which is really skewing my Nanowrimo stats). So far though, the project seems to be going well.

This is the first project I will write 100% outline free. This goes completely against the advice of James Patterson, whose first piece of advice was Outline during his pep talk. I’m not knocking the outline – it’s a very valuable tool, especially for writing comics. But I noticed I was never really happy with my previous two Nanowrimo projects, which I outlined extensively. When I spent six months writing a novel earlier this year, I finally allowed myself to write off off outline, and I was generally happy with the results. There are two schools of thoughts on this in writing. One is the outline-heavy “Architects”, the other is the wing-it-happy “Gardeners”. I think most of us fall in-between. If you’ve used an outline and you’re happy with it, go for it – each of us has our own process. But if you’ve always outlined and you’ve never tried “discovery writing” or vice versa – you’ve never tried writing with an outline – Nanowrimo is the perfect place to try. With your inner editor already kicked to the curb, Nanowrimo is the perfect setting to tweak your writing process by trying new things.

I’ve been very surprised how much my characters have come alive during Nanowrimo. While I didn’t outline, I did do some brainstorming with the workbook “Ready. Set. Novel!” by Nanowrimo founder Chris Baty as well as Lindsey Grant and Tavia Stewart-Streit. Doing so gave me a rough sketch of the characters, but it wasn’t until I wrote them each in a scene that they started to come alive. Now the characters are telling me all manner of things, such as one’s absentee father, another’s over-protective brother and yet another character’s childhood fascination with Rainbrow Brite. Needless to say the characters are very chatty right now.

So that’s how things have been going so far. Of course, it might be completely the opposite next week. I might be plugging my fingers into my ears trying to get the characters to shut up, or alternatively, I might be trying to squeeze blood for a rock, or more specifically, a reluctant Nanowrimo novel. Either way, I’ll be sure to let you know how things are going next.

Until then, check out a new Blue Yonder Wednesday!