Thursday, November 30, 2006

NaNoWriMo Winner Here

Today is the final day for NaNoWriMo participants to finish their 50,000 word novels. Everyone who submits a manuscript of 50,000 words or more is considered a winner. I finished mine yesterday. Well, sort of. I hit the 50,000 word finish line. By my estimate, I still have at least 25,000 words to go before the story is complete. One of the authors in my online writer's group asked NaNoWriMo participants what they learned from their experience in the month-long writing marathon. Here’s what I said:

"Winning" NaNoWriMo takes a far second to the joy I have about this novel. Had I not taken the challenge by Lori Weinrott to join, propped up by Brian Howe's enthusiasm, I don't think I would have started this novel--just yet. Each paragraph, page, and chapter convinced me that this is the book I should be writing right now. I'm setting aside WHISPERING NIGHTS while I finish TSSD.

I started out composing at a genteel pace, but as the days slipped by and I got behind, I began to feel crushed by the approaching deadline. I don't think there's a switch to turn off my inner editor. I don't like schlocky writing when I read it and I tolerate it less from myself. Nevertheless, it's still a shi**y first draft. It’s going to need some serious editing in the second round.

In the beginning I was excited by the new story and the words came easily as the characters revealed themselves. As my word count lagged behind the daily goal, however, I became hyper aware of every word I produced, clicking the word count meter every few pages. Toward the end I reverted back to my normal writing style, which is imagining and framing scenes for content and plot progression, rather than word count sessions. This put the joy back in the journey.

This is the first morning I haven’t plunged myself into TSSD. I’m taking a day off from the story to do some other writing tasks (like updating Ovations). Not to worry though, THE SWORD SWALLOWER’S DAUGHTER is even now sitting on her bed in the doll room, glaring at me to come up and play.

6 comments:

A.S. King said...

Carolyn,

Congratulations on winning Nano and for finding this story and getting it down!
I'm thrilled for you!

Stella

Swanny said...

How wonderful that you won the Nano! I know from reading the chapter that you shared, that it will be a moving story. I can't imagine having a deadline to write something; that's almost like planning to "make yourself have fun". However, I know that it is part of the career of writers... to be on deadline.
Way to go Carolyn!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mom! I can't wait to read this beginning chapter and the pages of inspiration which follow. I'm so proud of you!

I love you,
Elisabeth

Ovation Leader said...

Thanks, everyone. Nano was quite an experience. Don't know if I'll ever do it again, but I sure am glad I did this year.

Stella~ This novel began as a contest entry for Backspace. Just think, Monica could go on and on.

Swanny~ I love this: "make yourself have fun." Most of it is fun, but when your story has autobiographical elements, digging out old feelings can be like picking scabs. Thankfully, I have lots of literary bandaids.

Elisabeth~ Thanks for dropping by. I'll look forward to your impressions of Chapter One.

~Carolyn

Devon Ellington said...

Congratulations on the book! I think it sounds wonderful, and I'm glad Nano was a good experience for you. It becomes a real up and down, doesn't it?

Devon Ellington said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog.

My Nano was called ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, and I finished it just over 77K by the end of the month. I'm letting it rest for two months before I start revisions.

Congrats again on Nano!