Martha over at martha.net has a post detailing her previous experiences with NaNo and how she’s going to plan for success this year.
Thus far I’ve had a mixed success with NaNo’s. I’ve won three times out of eight attempts, but have yet to go back and turn any of them into a ‘real’ novel. While I am failing upwards more or less consistently, I’m a long way from being a NaNo pro.
This year I’m trying for a honest to [deity] novel-shaped draft by the end of November. Based on my history, this means I need to have a novel-shaped outline as free of plot holes and [needs research] notations as possible.
I positively love how honest Martha is about her experiences. With each NaNo she’s done, she’s learned something.
My list is a bit shorter. I’ve done and won NaNo a whole two times. But I have definitely learned a whole lot about myself and about writing from the experience.
NaNoWriMo 2010. After starting and restarting my “debut” novel six or so times over the past year, I joined NaNo on October 27th. Spent three days planning using the Snowflake Method, typed up an outline, and wrote a sequel to a novel I hadn’t even written yet.
And I learned a whole lot. I had never actually finished anything, so NaNoWriMo was my first ever finished writing project. Hurray! Likely that’s why I’m such a NaNo fangirl. I had such a great experience, I had so much fun, and I learned a lot about my writing process.
Camp NaNoWriMo July 2011. Smaller write-ins and loads of iced coffee. Yum. I was able to complete this project (I managed a crazy 25k words in the first week and the next 26k over the next two) but I hadn’t planned it out well enough. My “outline” was the major story milestones with a list of things that could happen in between. The second half was not fun to write.
Lesson learned: Spend more time planning. Get to know the characters, don’t breeze through those first-stage planning steps, like making sure my premise, concept, and conflicts are properly embedded in my brain. I will write a full outline this time, making sure each scene has all the stuff necessary for it to be a scene.
What have you learned from your NaNo experiences? What do you hope to learn?