So here we are at the two week wrap-up. I can’t believe more than two weeks have passed–two weeks?! I decided to do this wrap-up because it seemed like the last post of the NaNo blog series didn’t quite feel like a good closure.
So I’m hoping this post can compensate and fill that hole really well.
Also because there is a final chapter I haven’t covered in NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem! The final part ties up what comes after NaNo. I mean, that’s super important because some of us might not know what to do with our time now… So that’s that.
Though tbh I don’t really know how to approach this post. Hence I’m going to be stealing some material from a final wrap-up mail sent by NaNo staff to all NaNo members. That mail contained some questions, and I chose to answer some of those questions here because I liked them! And because they are totally relevant, I’ll start with them and then close off with the final review of No Plot? No Problem!:
3) What are you most proud of achieving this month?
Well, writing. I’m proud that I wrote this month. As I already mentioned in this post here, I haven’t written for 68 days–so nearly 10 weeks before I decided to use NaNo as a great excuse to start teaching myself to write daily. I’ve been writing daily ever since (<–and that totally felt like an infomercial there).
2) What did you learn about yourself as a writer?
I learned that I can actually maintain my sanity and somehow still be productive.
I’ve learned that it’s okay to unplug from the internet and ignore checking in on NaNo buddies because I’ll freak myself out with others’ progress.
For a long time I felt guilty. But I now realize I haven’t done any of that out of mean-spirited~ness.
It’s not jealousy.
It’s that I know I’ll begin the no-fun comparison thing and that would cause my word count to suffer and just my writing mojo and my self-esteem. I really didn’t want to go to a dark place–especially since November (and so far December) are dark months anyways, with little sunlight–so why tempt myself?
1) What excites you about this draft of your NaNo novel?
Well…haha. I wrote a fanfiction so there’s NO CHANCE. I repeat, no chance, that I’m getting it published (I don’t know how else to stress that).
I am still writing it, but that’s because I’m really growing to hate leaving stories (fanfiction or not) unfinished.
Also I’m practicing how to plot. I have a problem with outlining and then when I start pantsing, my plotting and pacing of action suffers. Like I don’t know all too much of what will happen that writing session. And you know how some authors will say “that character/plot point just kinda came out of nowhere” or “I really didn’t envision that would happen–it just happened”, but it’s even MORE true when you write-from-the-seat-of-your-pants. And sometimes it’s fantastic. It gets the writing going. But other times you want to just shoot your computer and walk away from the steaming pile of crap left over.
By far though the worst-case scenario is ending up with nearly 64K worth of material that doesn’t even cover half of the story’s would-be plot trajectory.
No Plot? No Problem! Wrap-up Week:
No Plot? No Problem! pretty much covers the same stuff, so everything connects nicely. In the final chapter Baty offers tips on what to do with your completed NaNo projects and what to do with your uncompleted stuff.
So I’ll break it down this way into a non-publishing group and a publishing group, and an in-progress projects and a completed project groups.
See advice #1
See advice #2
See advice #3
See advice #4
Advice #1 (Non-publishing, in-progress): So this would be me! (Hi fellow buddies of this category!) This group combines those NaNoers who have written something they know they’re not aiming to publish–although there might be wiggle room, I’m reserving this advice to those who know they don’t want to take this project further than their computer screen or out of their notebooks. (No thank you!) AND you’re still hard at work on the project.
Baty’s advice in No Plot? No Problem! is to keep at it. Take the NaNo novel past November. And I’d add know what you’re doing. At the beginning of this month I bounced back and forth on whether I would continue with the fanfiction, and I felt guilty for not working on a project targeting future publication. Eventually I got over that after I had a heart-to-heart with myself. I needed to let go of the guilt and ask myself what I wanted right then: and what I wanted continues to be writing this fanfic.
Advice #2 (Publishing, in-progress): So you’re writing for publication? Well keep writing. In this review series of No Plot? No Problem! I’ve been posting quotes for NaNoers and I think I’ve already mentioned this, but I’ll add this quote from the final chapter because I think it’s advice all writers could use whenever:
“After the month is over, reduce your daily minimum word count to 500 until you reach the end of the story. Don’t take a day off, just take some pressure off so that you can resume your old lifestyle.” – Dale Barnard, two-time NaNoWriMo winner from Austin, Texas
Advice #3 (Non-publishing, completed): You’re done with whatever project you have no plan to publish! Congratulations all the same! ^o^ You’ve reached the finish line. Take the time to celebrate and then look over your goals. Are you using that story as a template for revisions? Were you taking a break from a project you would like to publish?
Take the time to answer these questions. When I went to my first ever local meeting of NaNo everyone there all introduced ourselves, and part of the introduction we described our would-be month-long projects. One lady just said outright she was writing a fanfiction, and that she had no plans to be published ever. At first I thought it was strange: and then I realized who cares? I mean I like to sing in the shower, and I have NO plans to professionally sing. Ever.
So write for the sake of writing. Because you enjoy it and not because you need to be great at it or have plans to become an author or something equally severe and well-thought out.
Advice #4 (Publishing, completed): So you’re all done AND you’re looking to send this baby out. Frankly Chapter 9/the last chapter of No Plot? No Problem! was really designed with this group in mind!
There is a load of advice on how to enter revisions, when you know you’re done with revisions–Baty offers a timeline of around one year, although he stresses a large temporal discrepancy to the creative process–and a lot of tips and tricks from authors who NaNo’d (yes! I made that a verb) their way to store bookshelves.
The next step will be revision though, so take your time through it. Personally I don’t have a lot of advice to give here out of experience. I haven’t really joined the revision boat yet, but I’m hoping to jump on with my WIP, Bad-Blooded Billionaire next year. Until then, try to revise for you still. Don’t think to shape your book to a certain market niche or something, UNLESS you’re writing for category romances or something specific sub-genre like that.
Don’t fall into the trap of writing a book that will sell and losing the book that you love. Write and revise the book you love and then in the final editing stage–when you’re thinking query letters, synopses and submission packages, think how could you could sell it too!
All in all this advice is really sparse. I just wanted to map out the angle different paths we could be taking from NaNo 2014.
So whatever path you’re on, make sure you steer yourself in the right direction by listening to what you want. And we’re all writers in the end of the day no matter what your future plans look like.
Thanks for sitting through the series. It was hard keeping up with some of these posts, especially mid-November when final assignments and paper deadlines hit the proverbial fan.
Here’s to a long month and a half journey. One I won’t forget anytime soon (partial thanks to these posts)!