Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Na No Wri Mo and my process

November is National Novel Writing Month or  NaNoWriMo. Loads of people do it, and some have had huge success with it.  It basically asks the participents to write a 50k novel in a month, taking a leaf out of the great Isaac Asminov's book as it were. You are allowed to do background stuff before 1 Nov but the writing can only be done in November.
I used to try and fail. For some reason, I can't do it, even though I can write more than 60k in a month. I have finally figured out that it is to do with my process. I do Discovery Drafts and some of my preliminary work is writing that first draft, particularly the first three chapters. I like that feeling of being able to write and go back and edit. I also like to think  that I can do it on my own starting when I like etc. and making mistakes. It normally takes me about  6 - 12 weeks to write a novel from scratch.
So  I am not doing it this year or even pretending that I should be doing it. I write four plus novels per year (and get them published through my publisher) and that is enough. Or should be.
I will be cheering people on who are doing it as finishing a novel is a great way to learn about your process and how you write.  Remember writing the first draft is only the start but you can't build a house without bricks.
And on process: Scrivener is developing software for writers who use windows. When it goes on sale next year, any one who has completed the NaNoWriMo gets a 50% discount. Some authors swear by it for organising their novels. Apparently you can link loads of different files, create story boards and outlines etc. I throw this out in case anyone's process leads that way.
Currently I am happy with my chaotic process. It took me a long time to get here as it were. And once upon a time, I'd have been running for that software...and I am sure it is excellent or will be once the beta testing is done.
It is all in how you work and many times you won't know until you try. At the end of the day, it is the  results that count.

In other news:
I did watch Downton Abbey last night and it does keeping getting better and better. There is a reason why the UK is becoming a nation transfixed and Bates does have a lot to do with it. I think it is also called old fashioned decency towards others and courtesy. Comforting.


Joanna St. James said...

I'm trying it for the first time ever but I am not going to put any pressure on myself.
Pressure and I don't really work well when it comes to writing. We'll see at the end of November i guess

LindseyHughes said...

Much prefer your approach of 6-12 weeks for a novel. Six weeks to write the other six to edit (heavily).

50,000 in a month? I got palpatations just thinking about it.

Hearty admiration (and envy) for all those giving it a go.

Julia Broadbooks said...

I'm giving it a go. It'll be my first NaNo, so think good thoughts for me!

Phillipa Ashley said...

Re Downton: Brendan Coyle is an excllent actor and no one does rugged decency, better IMO.

He was great in N&S, Rockface and Lark Rise.

Liz Fielding said...

I can't do NaNo either, Michelle. I need to revise as I go.