LJWorld.com weblogs The Line of Letters




I’ve written 58,248 (official) words on OverTime, my second NaNoWriMo novel in as many years. It feels good to’ve won and to be done at the same time.

So now what?

This was the question that plagued me last year and I solved it by buying a domain with my name and committing myself to writing thirteen 6,000-word short stories, one a month, and publishing them on the web. This would force me to keep writing, to get better and at the end of it, I’d have another 78,000 words.

I have four more to go and I’m done with what I’ve been calling The Long Range, which amounts to essentially a novel in 13 seemingly disconnected parts. I’m learning my craft, trying to improve my storytelling skills and this year’s NaNo effort certainly helped with that.

Some quick things I’ve come to understand about my writing:

1 – I have rhythms to my sentences, and they tend to be the same from character to character to narrator. Note: change up the length and types of sentences.

2 – Despite having a reasonably large vocabulary, I found that I was repeating words often to describe actions that were themselves being repeated a lot. The speed of NaNo is the only excuse I have for that. Note: use wider variety of words without having to stop and consult the thesaurus.

3 – There was a throwaway bit that came to me and ended up really surprising me when it did. As I typed it, I didn’t realize it would come back to be an important part of the story, creating tension when I needed it. Note: Don’t discount what the characters will lead you to if you’re paying attention. Don’t force the narrative.

4 – I can write fairly quickly as long as I don’t get distracted. There were a couple of half-hours in the middle of the month when I was struggling with the story that I was able to get 700 – 800 words down quickly. Note: Keep the internet, especially Twitter, turned off when I’m writing.

5 – Finally, I was making a lot of space in my head for more ideas as this one was being explored. A lot of ideas. Some worked into the novel, others I wrote down because they didn’t fit. Note: Keep a spiral notebook and writing instrument handy when typing. Quick bits to remind you later on will inspire you as you learn more.

So I’m setting some goals for my writing for the coming year.

I should note as well that while I was churning out those 58,248 (official) words, I added roughly another 5,000 here blogging about the experience.

I am a successful NoWri, whether I’m published or not. Given all the work I have to do, I don’t see me being published in 2010 but that’s not going to deter me from trying.

Now that I’m done, it’s time for more.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.