December 3rd, 2007

Not Na-No

Now that all the excitement of National Novel Writing Month (and indeed, the month itself) has died down, I guess I’ll go ahead and blog on it. (No peer-pressure succumber, I!)

I didn’t officially do NaNoWriMo. It was just a coincidence that the finalfinalREALLYfinal re-write of my MG (unless it’s YA) fantasy novel pretty much coincided with it this year. I started in mid-October and finished Dec. 1. (yay!) It’s 55,496 glorious (I use the term loosely) words long. And it has danger and conflict and romance and everything. Oh, and magic. That’s actually integral to the plot—probably I should list it farther up.

I attacked the re-write in three acts, writing a scene a day. When I finished an act, I took a day off from writing to read it through and make Big Notes about Big Issues (character voice, plot continuity issues, etc.). It was exciting to realize that Act I had a lot going for it, depressing to conclude that Act II has some major floppiness issues, and a relief to see that not only did Act III tie things up, there’s even some fun writing in there. (First drafts, for me, are not about writing quality, per se. They’re more about cranking out the prose so I can mold it to my will later. Ah, the joys of revising.)

This was a landmark project for me, involving a change of MC, significant changes in the plot, and tremendo changes in the way I developed the plot. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love index cards?)

It’s also the first time I attacked a manuscript in such small chunks. I used to draft in chapter bites, first thing in the morning, before officially starting my day. Yes, the MS got on paper faster—but all my first drafts were also at least 10,000 words shorter than this one, and involved significant additioning during the revision phase. Scene by scene is definitely my preferred pace.

I’m taking a little time off now, and will re-read the whole project before the end of the year, and plot out (heh) my revision plan. And then what? Only 2008 can tell.   

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