NaNo 2016 Recap

Well, I didn’t hit the 50K word count goal for NaNoWriMo 2016, but I wasn’t planning on doing that. (I’m trying to remind myself that I didn’t really “fail” this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge, because my goals were different from the word count ones. It’s kind of working.) Instead, I focused my energies on the rewrite of Highs, Lows, and In-Betweens, the sequel to my space opera/western romance novel, From Hell (A Love Story). I still got a little over 40K done, though, so that’s pretty good!

highslows-2016nano

One of the unique joys-slash-conflicts I always experience during an edit or rewrite is the comparison between what happened in the first draft, when the words are just gushing out, to the more thoughtful edit, where I try to pick apart, rework, and sometimes even build anew the character motivations, relationships, conflicts, and plot events. During my NaNo rebellion over the past thirty days, I took the bones of my five protagonists (I know; that’s a lot of protags, but that’s a discussion for another day) and really rebuilt them. They’ve become a lot more complicated, and a lot more engaging because of that. At least, I think they are.

The first draft of the story, which I wrote in 2014, was a lot of fun, and many of the main story points are still there. But now, after tearing parts of it up and delving deep into who these people truly are at their cores, there is a new villain, a new love story, a new betrayal, and a whole new possibility for this adventure to go far beyond the simple introductory tale it was at the beginning.

I will keep working on this rewrite, because these characters are too interesting to let fall to the wayside. I’m sure I’ll also be writing new stories, too, because I just can’t keep myself from examining what the other characters in my other worlds have been doing. In short, I’ll just keep writing, NaNo or no NaNo.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? How did you do? What projects are you working on that you’re excited about?

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8 thoughts on “NaNo 2016 Recap

  1. It’s great that you had other goals for NaNo! I’m right there with you on rewrites, just how satisfying it is to see how the new rewrite compares to previous incarnations. Do you ever feel like an old scene worked so well that you just copy/paste it onto the new version, and then make a few minor adjustments?

    NaNo seemed to work well as a way to push you to get the story written, so it’s pretty cool that you were able to use it that way, rather than focusing just on word count.

    I didn’t do NaNo this year, or any other year, ever. But, I have been keeping up with writing just about every night. I’ve had to put my main story on hold for school, so I’m just working on my third rewrite for my P3 fic, just to keep up the writing habit. But honestly, I think I might have to take a break from writing after this quarter. School’s been pretty hectic!

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    • Ha! Yes, there have been scenes I’ve liked too much to totally rewrite. Many of the ones in this story are getting a major makeover, but a few require just a little bit of touch-up. πŸ™‚

      You’ve already got a strong sense for your writing, including making the time to write, so the typical NaNo word sprint would likely feel like old hat, to you. πŸ˜€ It’s great that you’re still refining that particular story. Just be careful not to tinker too much! Sometimes, we can get so lost in our editing that we risk the never-finish syndrome!

      Hope you have a good rest of the quarter! It definitely seems like you’ve been busier than earlier quarters. I have not forgotten our fight scenes talk, though!

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  2. Way to go, Mayumi! Word count or no, a full edit and addition is a great accomplishment! I hope to read it in full one day.

    Right now, I’m working on whatever comes my way, which for the moment is a piece called “The Raid”, based on something I mentioned oh so long ago in another story. And I want to add more to ‘Beginning of the End” here soon, once I flush out the next scene πŸ™‚ And who knows, that edit may be my NaNo one day.

    Good to have you back!

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    • I would love for you to read it, shade! I really respect your perspective on action and sci-fi stories – you are the kind of reader I’m hoping to write this for – so maybe, when the ARC is ready…? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Glad to hear that you are finding time to work on your own projects! Time is the real killer for a writer, especially when we have jobs, classes, family. It’s always inspiring to see you share new stuff. (I am woefully behind on your blog. So sorry about that!)

      Happy writing into December, and beyond!

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  3. I didn’t participate in NaNo this year. I haven’t yet because I just don’t feel it works for me. I wrote a couple of stories during the month. I wanted to write three, but managed to write two. Still, it’s a big deal because it takes me a month to finish one. I think what helped is changing my strategy for writing the drafts. Instead of writing the first draft on my laptop, I wrote in my notebook. Writing in the notebook first spurred me to get the words on paper without stopping to edit. After completing the story, I rested, then edited, then put the next draft on the laptop. This process worked so much better for me.

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    • Finding what works best for us is a key part of the journey, George, and it’s great that you are comfortable in yours. Contests like NaNoWriMo are not for everyone – and, they shouldn’t be. If everyone wrote the same way, with the same goals, we’d lose a lot of uniqueness to our stories.

      I’m really impressed by folks who can do first (and later) drafts in longhand. My handwriting has gotten pretty atrocious lo these last many years, I often have trouble reading what I wrote in the first place! πŸ˜€

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  4. Revision can go so many ways, and I think we get ourselves in trouble if we’re not prepared for how malleable a story actually is. That’s what happened to me with my first big, now under-the-bed, novel. But it was a valuable lesson that has helped pave the way to writing other stories.

    NaNo is interesting. I did participate in it, but as a rebel and not counting words. My NaNo goal was to finish the second draft of my upper MG book by the end of November. I finished it on Dec. 2, so I was off by two days. However, I lost fourteen writing days due to Life circumstances, where I couldn’t touch the thing at all. (November is truly the worst month to do something like this. But then, I can’t think of any one month that’s geared toward absolute writing, so I think I’m stuck regardless.) Anyway, I think that finishing it two days late is still considered a success because I met my ultimate goal.

    I’m glad you’re still planning to work on the rewrite. Sounds like you’ve found a story that moves you, and that’s so important.

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    • That’s great that you met that goal, Kate! I am always so impressed when I read from author friends that they can run through an edit or second draft in that kind of record time. I completely sympathize with the effort that it takes to redraft and edit, so I know that is not an easy process!

      I have a lot of stories running in my head. πŸ™‚ One of the main motivations for this story is that I already have a finished draft to build from. More than that, though, I’ve got a young artist who keeps coming up with great interpretations of the characters and situations, that I feel duty-bound to make this thing the biggest story it can be, while still staying true to the story I want to tell. I’m trying to have the redraft done by end of the year, so I can say I accomplished *something* in 2016!

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