I had no plot going into NaNo, but wrote furiously. Throwing my characters into one situation after another, loving the twists and turns that the story was taking. I squeaked across the finish line on November 30th with just a little over 50,000 words. I had done it! I'd written a rough draft of my first novel. I was a novelist!
I let it sit for about a month and then went back to start revisions. I started reading through the manuscript and cringed about every five minutes. The writing was bad...really bad. The characters were fun, but acted inconsistently. The plot...what there was of it...was badly in need of a plot doctor.
In short, I was so overwhelmed by what it would take to fix the novel, that I put it back in a drawer and gave up. Then I started reading book after book about writing fiction. By the next time NaNo rolled around I thought I was ready to write a real novel.
In 2010, I got to about the 10,000 word mark and fizzled out. Same with 2011 and 2012. This year thought I was ready. 2013 would be the year that I finished a NaNoWriMo novel. It didn't happen. This year I got to 11,587 words and fizzled. I didn't know where to go next with my story. I got uptight. I liked the story so far, but I didn't want to just push through for the sake of a winning word count only to have to go back and fix the whole thing. I gave up. Not on the book, but on NaNoWriMo.
I was feeling like an utter failure until I read a post on Chip MacGregor's blog by Amanda Luedeke titled "Why I Hate NaNoWriMo" and suddenly a huge weight was lifted from my writerly shoulders.
excerpt from Amanda's post...
This is why I hate NaNoWriMo. It sets writers up to fail.
As if writers need yet another reason to question their craft. To doubt whether they’re cut out for this author gig. As if they need another reminder that they can’t do it. They’re failures. They should quit while they’re ahead.
NaNo does this to tens of thousands if not HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of writers each and every year. There are over 300,000 signed up for the program this year. Let’s say a two-thirds achieve the 50k in one month goal. That’s 100,000 WRITERS WHO HAVE FAILED.
I hate this. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this.
(read the entire article HERE)
I'll finish my book, but I'll take my time and do it at a pace that won't make me crazy. I'll spend more time on character development and plotting and when I'm finished, I'll have a revisable book, not a heap of hopelessly confused words.
How about you? Did you start NaNoWriMo, but not finish? Did it make you feel like a failure? Are you going to finish your novel or did you give up?
PS - for those of you who did NaNo and will finish - CONGRATULATIONS! I know it works for so many people and I'm glad. I'm just not one of them and that's OK.
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