My failure and success in NaNoWriMo so far

For the first time, I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo.  For anyone who doesn’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month and it has taken place every November since 1999.  The aim is to write 50,000 words in a month and then the editing can follow at your leisure in December or whenever.  I have flirted with the idea of writing a novel before but I haven’t made it past the planning stage.  Some of my previous planning is still saved and I may revisit for a future novel or novels but in the meantime, I thought I would take up the challenge of just writing and getting my first novel underway.

Three weeks into the challenge and I have written just short of 10,000 words.  It works out at an average of 500 words a day.  While I could see this as a failure because I am 9 days and 40,000 words away from the target, I see it as a success.

Let me explain why.

I enjoy writing but I find that life often gets in the way.  I know real writers are supposed to find their way around obstacles but sometimes it just isn’t possible.  I don’t want to make excuses but for a variety of reasons my writing was sporadic.  To have written a few hundred words most days (I have written for 19 days out of 21) is a success.  It is a success because I have been writing regularly.  I have been writing regularly and enjoying it.  And, because I am writing most days, I know where I am going with the story.  I won’t have to remind myself at a later date what I had previously written.  My plot and characters will stay with me on a daily basis until the story is told in full.

I had not previously achieved this without the goal of NaNoWriMo.

With 9 days to go, I don’t expect to have 50,000 words written but what I do expect is to have a fully formed skeleton; the skeleton being the plot outline.  I can then work on putting flesh on the bones.

I’m happy with my progress on my practice novel.  I’m glad I took up the challenge and I would do it again.

I would love to hear about other people’s experiences in NaNoWriMo.

Maybe you’re just like me, a newbie to novel-writing.  Maybe you find it easy to knock out 50,000 words.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

Di 🙂


Character Building

The plot versus character debate has raged for years – i.e which is most important.  Personally, I always felt they were on equal footing but I’ve since realised that I haven’t been putting my belief into practice.  When writing my short stories, I have been putting all my focus on storylines rather than the characters.  I guess it is more difficult to develop characters for short stories;  after all, the reader is not going to stick with them for long.  However, I learned a lesson from an unlikely source.  I have been reading the authorised biography of Brendan O’Carroll (of Mrs Brown fame) and he relayed a piece of advice he learned from somewhere – write a character synopsis of around 20 pages long (per main character) to really get to know your characters.  I don’t think I will be adopting this method for my short story characters but today I started this process for my novel characters.  I still have a long way to go but I feel it will help.  At this stage, I am still working on my short story development rather than a novel but I don’t feel it will do any harm to set the foundations.  If anything, it is giving me experience of character building, both for my novel and my own personal development 🙂