Or perhaps the title should be NaNoFailMo. Because boy, did I fail. And by such a minute amount, it’s ridiculous. Goal: 50,000 words. Written words: 48,600 words. I missed it by less than 1500 words. 1500 words! That’s a blog post, for crying out loud!
So, you want to hear my excuses?
I really only have one:
I didn’t give a crap about my characters or my story. Which seems kind of funny, considering the story was somewhat auto-biographical.
I’m one of those writers who believes characters do things on their own, and I just write them down. I believe stories can go where you don’t expect them to. Yes, I’ve always been a “Pantser,” but this NaNo I really wanted to try creating an outline. And I did – I created an outline, sometimes detailed, sometimes rough, from start to finish. I knew all the big points. I knew most of the small points. I even tried writing down a summary of each scene just before actually writing the scene. “This is going to happen, then this, then Protagonist is going to do this, then this is going to happen….” And you know what? My scene, when written, very rarely followed the summary I had just come up with. Which was fine – I think that even a good outline can be changed. Just as in life, sh*t happens. Things don’t go how you think they will. Some serious Plotters out there will argue the point, will say that the outline is set in stone, but I simply don’t believe that. An outline is simply a work in progress, you’re real first draft, so to speak.
Don’t get me wrong – I actually liked the outlining/summary process. Outlining gave me a start and end point, plus filler (which is usually my downfall). Summarizing the scene before I started got me focused on the task at hand. But it also set a limit on me, which I’m not sure was a good thing. My routine became: Sit down, Summarize scene, Write scene, Take break. I almost never got more than one scene done at a time. It was very disjointed, it was always about getting this scene done, which I think helped to cause my dispassion for the story.
At 7am on November 30th, I think I had just over 36,000 words. I wrote about 12,000 words in one day, bringing my total to 48,600. Of course, I had a 10 hour trans-Atlantic flight and an 8 hour time change in my favor working for me, so my November 30th was actually 32 hours long. I could have gotten another 1500 words in. But at some point during the flight, I looked at the computer and said, “Screw this.” I simply didn’t care.
I thought I cared about this story, but in the end, I really didn’t. Passion is everything.