November is over. For those who write, this means the end of another Nanowrimo.  A chance to splurge out a first draft of a novel in thirty days. I haven’t participated in Nanowrimo every year, but I always find it an interesting experience.

Twice I  tried ‘just writing,’  starting out with no more than an idea and maybe a couple of characters, and on both those occasions I got to 25,000 words and ‘hit the wall’. While that might sound disappointing, looking back now I realise it was a positive experience. It gave me something to work with, and both those projects are much further on now.

One year I spent the whole of October planning the novel and then sat down on November 1st and ploughed through, following the plan, grinding out 1667 words per day.  I finished a rough draft and then spend the next three months editing and re-writing and that novel is now out there looking for a publisher.  However that project had a fairly simple structure; this year I was attempting something with three narrators set in three different time periods, and although I planned as far as I could, I didn’t know where the story was going to end up, and I faltered at 40,000 words. But 40,000 words is something to work with, and since then I’ve been planning and tinkering and thinking and expanding, and I’m quite excited with the WIP so far. Without Nanowrimo I’d be much further behind.

I know there are some people who see
as the beginning and the end of the process. I see it as a great way of dumping a terrible first draft onto the page. It gives you something to edit, and editing is where the story emerges. So I’m going to keep Nanowrimoing as long as there are Novembers. What else is there to do in Scotland in the worst month of the year?

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