Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Joy of a Rough Draft NaNo Style

I always see people talk about how crazy us writers participating in NaNoWriMo are. I also see those who take it to the next level doubling or even tripling the 50,000 word count goal. I can't imagine doing that. I'd never sleep. Or eat. Or, well do anything at all.

But I do love the style of writing one manuscript straight through. I love the energy surrounding November within the writing community. Not that we don't support one another throughout the year, because that I do see very often. But in November more of us are in the drafting stage at the same time. That's something I look forward to every year.

I love the style of NaNo. Write straight through. Edit later. I found out the first year I participated that was the way I needed to write in order to get through a manuscript without losing momentum. I would write and edit as I went. I'd loose that oomph and shelve the manuscript. Not anymore. I outline and plan the heck out of a manuscript. Then I sit and write it straight through.

I wrote the rough draft of Midnight Raynne in just over two weeks. It took me a whole lot longer to edit the heck out of it. Mostly because I hadn't outlined that one ahead of time. Barely There was the same. It took me about three weeks to have that rough draft completed. Neither were written during November either. And I didn't hit 50,000 words with them. But they were completed messy rough drafts. They were periods of discovery. The base of the pyramid that would eventually become a completed manuscript. 

This year I outlined a previously written manuscript and rearranged a lot of things. And I mean a lot of things. As I sat down to write new chapters yesterday I realized that even though the characters are mostly the same, they aren't anything like the original ones I'd created nearly five years ago. My main character has an attitude. She didn't use to have one. And her love interest is very different too. He's not as sure of himself as he was originally.

Not to mention a new character popped up as I was writing and brought with her a whole new twist to my main character's life. She added a depth I hadn't known was missing in my outline. Now that she's arrived I can clearly see the gap. I also see what needs to be fixed in the beginning chapters. For now I have made notes that can be applied when all is said and done.

I love the surprises that pop up during this drafting phase. I tend to think of it more as a discovery phase. I usually learn so much about my characters that I didn't see when I was outlining. And at least I have a sort of outline to follow for them, even if they stray occasionally. But most of all I love the speed at which I get to know them and write their story. 

What's your favorite part of NaNo?

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