writing

Finished Nanowrimo. Now what?

As most of you probably know, I spent the month of November participating in NaNoWriMo (write 50,000 words in 30 days.) It’s a personal competition with yourself that I’ve taken part in for the last several years. You win some, you lose some.

This year, I was determined to win. I even wrote an outline in October and started a book brain to go with it (more on that next week.) I’d mapped out writing time in my handy-dandy planner, and bizarrely, my kids ended up with their father for the entire month! (That never happens, but hey, life does through curve balls.) Literally, all I had to do was show up each day and write the ideas I’d already mapped out in my outline. Easy, right?

Well, it was. At first. The soggy middle was still the soggy middle and when you have a time crunch like Nanowrimo, there is no time to ponder, mull, or sleep on how to liven up the parts that feel sluggish. (If they are sluggish to write they absolutely will be sluggish to read.) Push on! That’s the nano motto. Just word vomit now, clean it up in draft two. So I did. Oh, did I word vomit.

A daily journey through Nano

Around day 19, I discovered a flaw in my oh so tailored outline. I was already at the end of our hero’s story, but I still had 11 more days worth of writing to do (or about 18K words.) Whoops. So, I did what any desperate writer in this situation would do. I switched the point of view of the story. At chapter 19 of a 24 chapter book! *Head desk. Hey, it’s Nano, we do stupid things in an attempt to ‘push on.’

I didn’t resist the idea of switching POV, because honestly, even when outlining, my mind wanted to switch POVs at that same spot. I decided to go with my initial thought and shake it up . While it worked to get me over the finish line a day early, it has also caused me two very big headaches.

  1. When I switched POV to a guy, there were suddenly sex scenes in a story that up to now, didn’t have sex in them. Not a problem in and of itself, but this was supposed to be part of a series of books and the first in the series did NOT have sex, so to keep the feel of the series, either I take out the sex in this book (a lot of words) or add some to the first story.

2. Because this is part of a series, should I also switch POV for the first book? Or keep the POV consistent to one POV for both (I’ve written myself into a corner in book 2 if so…)

Two very big problems to think through. But not today. Or tomorrow. Or even this month. Because what happens now is that the manuscript gets shelved. For at least a month. I need to let that story marinate. Let my mind ponder the choices ahead. Until then, there are three other projects in varying stages of revisions that demand my attention. My latest Nano baby will just have to wait its turn to be cleaned up.

Until then, I’ll just admire my new award and ignore the fact that it will be a b*tch to revise come draft two.

Danielle Bannister, author, and Nanowrimo winner

2 thoughts on “Finished Nanowrimo. Now what?”

  1. Hahaha I did the switch POV thing around 40k words in, and that did wonders in totally expanding my story. I guess revising is where the real work begins though. Wishing you all the best, Danielle!

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