Nov 26, 2008

Nano, Day 26

I remember my first Nano. I had a good idea, I knew where the story was going, I had my characters more or less figured out (well, they had names anyway). I had a well thought out outline and though I tended to jump ahead to the more interesting parts, I still pretty much stuck to the outline. I ran out of story before I ran out of words, and I’m still trying to edit that sucker. I may just start over from scratch. I still like the basic idea, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Recently I came across the original prologue and it’s a much better fit than the new one. In fact, it’s long enough that I might dispense with the prologue altogether and just use it as chapter one.

Last year I attempted Nano. I had what I thought was a good idea and I booked a week’s vacation in the middle of November. I wrote 2,000 words and then stopped. In retrospect, what I had was a good beginning for an idea. It needed a lot more developing before it was going to go anywhere.

This year, I almost didn’t sign up for Nano. My writing was floundering and I didn't think the extra pressure from Nano was what I needed to pull me out of my slump. I was working on three different projects simultaneously and my progress just seemed really slow. The two weeks before Nano I was hard-pressed to even update my blogs, let alone get any other writing done. There was this story that was stuck in my head. Every time I tried to write something this story would rear its ugly head in my mind and demand my attention.

I tried to ignore it but the problem was it was a good idea. It kept revolving in my head, refining itself until I knew the whole story from start to finish. I knew the characters and their motivations, I knew their flaws, I knew exactly where the story was going and how it was going to get there including the obstacles my characters were going to encounter.

After two weeks of not writing, I was leaning more towards not signing up for Nano. I just couldn’t face more failure. And then I read a post on Absolute Write that changed my way of thinking. The thread asked the question, “Is Nano a good idea for beginning writers?” The answer was illuminating (at least for me). I wish I could find the original post, but in a nutshell it basically said that writers often have to work under tight deadlines and Nano is a good way of testing yourself.

I want to be a writer. Nano is making me feel like one.

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