Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Looking Back: NaNo 2012

I wrote a little bit about my NaNo book in early December. I’ll share what I thought of it then and what I think of it now, after reading it through twice.

Early December Thoughts

I was aiming for a personal best of 100,000 words in November. I shattered that record and kept on writing, trying to finish my story. It took until almost 11:30 pm on November 30, but I finished the last story of the princess books. I ended at 127,739 words.

Why did I write that much? The story wasn’t done. I wanted to pen it all in a single month as my own personal challenge. It took me until the very last day, but I did it!

I also managed to cross some other hurdles. I was able to write a convincing villain. This is hard for me to do, but the villains in these books come out rather well. Considering this particular bad guy was a familiar character, once I knew what made him evil, I was able to take off with it. I won’t know for certain until I hear back from other readers, but I think I was able to conceal who was behind everything rather well.

I wrote some very tough scenes. Bad, bad stuff happened to my main female character. Most of the time, I know as I’m writing it why it’s happening, and how it will help. This time around, I wrote it because I knew it needed to happen. I knew who the villain needed to be. I considered changing it to a different character, but I didn’t. I’ve learned to trust my writer brain. And though I’m not 100% clear on why this stuff happened to this girl, the characters grew from it. This book turned out to be more about the King and how he responded to it than the girl who carried the last story. It’s rather interesting.

Other personal bests: I was able to come up with a last name off the top of my head without looking anything up. Twice. Granted, they’re weird last names, but this is progress for me.

I was able to concentrate better during noisy times. I love our local write-ins, but they can be loud. The last night of NaNo, I was there on a mission. I had to focus. Despite how rowdy one end of the table was, I was still able to write.

NaNo 2012 was a victory for me in many ways.

Early January Thoughts

The first time through, I reread the book in about 24 hours. I liked the story line. I knew it, but I liked reading it. I caught some minor errors and hilarious typos. I correct the typos I see as I write, but the last ten chapters of the book came rather quickly. I didn’t catch everything. It made for some entertaining reading. I now cringe thinking of what my one beta reader must be thinking as she reads through my rough NaNo draft. Oops.

I had been reading the book before my NaNo story off and on. It’s a massive book, putting this one’s length to shame. That book is full of typos from the transcription phase, facts I wrote, forgot, and rewrote with different rules, punctuation errors, and generally needs a nice polish before I can smile when I think of the book.

This story is a put together a little better than its predecessor. It does have a few rewritten facts, most of which I did not catch until my second read. My best example was setting up that my soldier character would head back to watch the walls after something took place. In the same chapter, I rewrite the facts so he can come back whenever he feels like it. Oops.

My first read was rather enjoyable. I read it going, “I did that. Wow! That’s really good!”

My second read was more painful. I saw more errors that I usually catch as I write it.  My consensus now is that this book needs to be edited. I need to fix the facts and clean up the errors and reword several poorly worded sentences.

But before I do that, though, I will let it sit. I plan to fix the other stories in this series before going back to that. Alas, a writer’s work is never done.

I heard something at a writer’s conference that I shall share with you. “There is no such thing as a ‘finished’ draft. There’s just the draft that’s pried out of the writer’s hands.”

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