Saturday, December 5, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015: Lessons Learned

Scott D. Parker

First things first: I’m not quite finished with the book. I expected it’ll happen this weekend. Likely on Saturday (seeing as how I’m writing this on Friday).

The second Gordon Gardner investigation now stands at 77,400 words and 70 chapters. For the most part, the first 85% of the book played out exactly as I planned it back in October. That enabled me to get this first draft out of my head in an efficient manner. Only at the end, ironically, did things slow down. The main reason is that the little nuances that happened along the way slightly altered how the ending finale took place. The set-up was there, but the variations needed ironing out. So I slowed down. Irritated me, but I kept forward momentum.

By now, this is my ninth manuscript to complete. A few things have emerged that seem to indicate my preferred writing style. (A quick aside: I wrote my first book in 2005-06. I’ve written eight since May 2013. It’s these latter eight I group together.)

Endings Are Fluid - This current book is a case in point. So far, about six of the recent eight books all had endings I didn’t see coming. Only THE PHANTOM AUTOMOBILE and the forthcoming Lillian Saxton novel had endings I saw ahead of time and wrote toward.

I Can Crank Out First Drafts - Having a road map for my books means I can drive the speed limit or faster. I don’t have to worry about what happens next. I know what happens next. Sometimes, new things pop up. I address them and then get back on the road. A book is a whole lot easier to work with when you have it on paper in front of you. Then, you’ve already told yourself the story and you can fix things.

Writing With a Full-Time Job is Doable - Granted, I've learned this my entire fiction writing career since I've yet to have the opportunity to write full-time. But it's still nice to know that I can bring home the bacon and still produce a book.

Writing From a Theme is Interesting - I specifically tried a new technique with this book: write from a character perspective and have a theme I’d like to explore. The next thing about this is that I was able to shape scenes to fit the theme. I think it helped drive home the central idea.

I Suck at Titles - I have no idea what this book will be called. Right now, it’s “Gordon 02.”

I Like the Plan-for-a-Month/Write-for-a-Month pattern. I’ve now down it twice this year and it’s worked very well. It may be my new standard.

That’s about it for now. So, for y’all who did NaNoWriMo, did y’all learn anything about yourself or your writing process?

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