Nanowrimo is awful!

Nanowrimo is awful! There’s no time to edit or finesse writing as you go. And the writing is bad. Really bad: the bones of a draft, the choreography, all telling—he did this, she did that, they went here, and then this happened. And to make it worse, I’ve decided to write in past tense which feels unnatural. I keep catching myself defaulting to present tense. The idea to swap from present to past tense came from one of my last writing classes. We had to do an elevator pitch to an editor from a publishing house. She said my pitch was ‘interesting’ and ‘good luck with that’. And that was one of her kinder responses! After the pitching session the editor imparted some of her wisdom to us students. She said present tense was passé.

As I was working on this awful past tense draft this morning, I came up with an idea. What if Nanowrimo first draft is the skeleton and each subsequent draft is the flesh, but instead of fleshing it all out at once, devote each layer—each ‘fleshing’—to a different sense? So …

Draft 1: skeleton

Draft 2: fleshing out concentrating on sight

Draft 3: fleshing out concentrating on sound

Draft 4: fleshing out concentrating on smell

Draft 5: fleshing out concentrating on touch

Draft 6: fleshing out concentrating on taste

Then there’s always the sixth sense.

Might work. Maybe. It’s only day three of Nanowrimo. God knows what ideas I’ll have by day 30!

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2 thoughts on “Nanowrimo is awful!

  1. dysfunctional literacy

    I’ve never tried any of these “write a novel in a _____” or “write _____ words in a _____” because I know that whatever I write in a hurry would be dreck, but some writers do better with the pressure. How did your strategy work?

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    1. Tania Chandler Post author

      My strategy failed. I had a story outline but it wasn’t comprehensive enough. I think you’d need extremely detailed chapter outlines when writing so quickly. Having a first draft before you start would be good, but that would be cheating. I thought the missing bits would somehow fall magically in to place as I went along. Wrong! I’m a slow writer and I like to edit as I go, so I was doomed from the start. And I resented the Nanowrimo graph that told you how far behind you were and how many words you had to write each day to reach your goal. Psychologically, being told how many words to write made me want to do the opposite (I don’t like writing rules and being told what to do. Especially not by a graph!) On a positive note: I managed to write just over 28K words which will form the start of my second novel, so it was worth doing. Would I do it again? Maybe.

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