I first did NanoWrimo in 2006, along with a group of fellow writers. It was a lot of fun, but the draft I wrote (well over 50 K) was such a mess that I had to deconstruct it and start over. It was the first book in a series, and I wasted about a year and a half undoing all the things that Nano project inadvertently caused.
I kept doing Nano, and each time I would get well over the 50 k mark but with a draft that was useless because I can literally write stream of consciousness for days with no effort at all and hit word counts galore without actually making progress in the story. That’s the theory behind most word count related fiction challenges. “Put words on the page and don’t worry about if you can use those words at all.” I do all kinds of damage to my narratives that way, and having an outline or plan doesn’t help because of my mind is focused on word count, that’s where I end up placing my emotional investment. Then I get done and I realize I have a boatload of crap and am no closer to a USEABLE or finished story. The truth is I don’t really need to have a challenge designed to let my subconscious loose on the page. My subconscious writes my stories anyway, and giving it that much freedom to do whatever it wants is really a waste of my time and effort.
So I swore off word count challenges a few years ago, and my writing has improved a lot, but this year I decided to sign up for Nano again. Am I crazy? Possibly. I’m looking to connect with new author friends, and it seems like Nano or various other word count races are the main ways to attract writers on the internet. So, I’m signing up with no intent to finish a workable draft of anything.
I’ve published 4 short stories, a nonfiction pamphlet and several essays this year. I’ve got two novella drafts, a nonfiction e-book, and a couple of long-running blog series finished and in the pipline, so I’m ready to do something experimental with my winter.
I realized that I need more practice writing in first-person and in developing distinct voices for my characters. One of my characters, a young man named Noah Woods is interested in blogging. So, I set him up a fictional blog and plan to spend November and December building a backlog of posts for him. My NaNo project is a series of his blog posts answering questions from this book and some other prompt books I own. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll actually be posting in November or if I’ll wait until the challenge is over, but you’re welcome to follow Noah’s blog. This blog will be going on semi-hiatus until January, but I’ll active on Sourcerer, Science Fiction, Transmedia, and Fandom and Noah Woods Live