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December 08
NaNoWriMo Post-Mortem

As I mentioned earlier (and as I do every year) I participated in NaNoWriMo this year. I love NaNoWriMo because it's a great opportunity to do something I don't' really do all the time: fiction writing.

I like to think that I'm not horrific at writing, and maybe that I'm even improving at it a little bit since the days of my old web site, but one thing I rarely practice is fiction writing. Of course, NaNoWriMo focuses on writing novel-length stories, and some of the work I might at some point produce is of shorter length, but that's the kind of stuff I can focus on intermittently during the year, whereas NaNo forces me to attempt to focus on a single project.

This year, I did have additional help in the region, which was very nice. Stephanie will be my Co-ML for the forseeable future. The other big change-up was another of my NaNoWriMo friends moved to another town in the region. That town actually has its own NaNoWriMo region, with which I'd say that I have an unofficial competition going on. It was both nice to have a load off, and really fun but unproductive to help with moving.

To add to the unproductivity, some personal issues came up and I spent a fair amount of the month going to be really really early, simply exhausted from the day. This isn't ideal, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do, right? That problem has since been resolved, but I can't deny that it used a lot of time during the month.

In terms of actually writing: I used a story idea a friend of mine pitched while we were talking one day. In their version of the story, a protagonist finds themselves in a strange land, both playing out a traditional fantasy storyline, and contending with a hapless narrator that changes aspects of the universe at will. In my version, there is no narrator, but the universe is listening in and does essentially anything its constituents ask, provided the argument for it is convincing enough. The protagonist and antagonist were destined to meet and….

Unfortunately, not only did I actually botch the entire concept of the story, but I literally decided on this plot mere moments before the start of the month, and as such, had a really difficult time actually deploying it. One of my chapters ended up essentially being a telco fanfiction, because I was simply out of steam, both physically and mentally that day, and writing about data transmission is easy and holds my attention. The other problem was that although I had a general concept down, I didn't have any specific events in the story plotted out, and of the few events I had an idea of before coming in, I didn't have them put into a particular order, which would have helped a lot even without quite the energy and time availability I would have liked.

I might or might not try this story again at some point, I think it merits a reorganization and a planning process, though I may not actually do the rewrite for a while. I'm thinking either NaNoWriMo 2016, or for a Camp NaNoWriMo event. I may even try an adaptation of the idea as a short story before moving on to another novel-length work.

Somewhat hilariously, I do actually have another idea that sprang up during the month. I almost switched to it right away, but I want to spend some time actually developing it, it needs some settings and characters, so that ideally I can get started on the actual plot without dumping about 20 printed pages' worth of words into describing the characters and the settings. Not that this is bad, just that it gets old, both for me and for any potential readers.

I already have an idea for NaNoWriMo 2015, and I plan on spending some time throughout the year doing some pre-writing on it, so I can hit the ground running, ideally with a plot and some events in mind. I'll be spending the year pre-writing as the mood strikes and time becomes available.


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