Why I NaNoWriMo
I've written novels before. Not as V.S. Velde, but under a different name. They were long, literary things that I spent years on, and I'm very proud of them. But last year I was going through a phase where I was grinding my wheels. I was spending time writing, but I was not particularly happy with what I was producing: I could tell it wasn't adding up to a quality story, and that left me feeling anxious that I was squandering what little writing time I had.
So in late June, I decided to shelve the story I was working on, take some new ideas, and work on them through the July session of NaNoWriMo. Being an obsessive planner, I wrote out a 5,000 word outline, and on July 1, began Blue Caldera. For the entire month, I wrote every day, at least 500 per day but keeping an average of just over 2,000 per day. It was one of the most productive periods of writing in my life. What I produced was a solid draft for Blue Caldera, and over the next couple months, I polished it into a finished manuscript.
It's now November, and I'm busy at work on the sequel to Blue Caldera. I'm excited to be working with Ettie Thompson again, giving her new mysteries and problems that will challenge her intellect and force her to grow further as a person. Again, I'm energized by the process.
I think the best thing about a binge-writing period is that it encourages one to separate the act of writing from planning and editing. There simply isn't time to plot out one's story midway through the month. Nor is there time to edit. So I spend the weeks leading up to the month mind-mapping, outlining, doing character studies and dialogue studies. By the time I start writing, I feel like I know exactly where the story is going. And while that may change, it only changes with purpose: I'm never merely casting about for a direction.
In July, I wrote in three passes: the first was primarily dialog, the second action, and the third, description and internal monologue. There was certainly overlap between these three passes, but it was successful enough that I'm using the same process again.
I look forward to talking more about writing process as the month unfolds. Right now, I'm about 7,000 words in, and perhaps a little over-confident, lacking some of the urgency that I had in July.