This month I have participated in NaNoWriMo. No, it isn’t some new Mork & Mindy spin off, it is an annual novel writing project that brings together professional and amateur writers from all over the world to write 50,000 words during the month of November. You can find out more about it here www.nanowrimo.org
The month is not quite over but I doubt I will get any further writing done in this time. I didn’t make the 50,000 words, I didn’t even come close. I did write 11,435 words and am rather pleased with myself for doing so. Before NaNoWriMo I had an idea. Now I feel like my novel is a tangible thing. It is real. It exists. I now owe it to the characters I have created to finish it. I can’t leave them all hanging in limbo. I need to tell their story.
My goal is to have my full first draft completed by December next year. I have already sent the draft to someone whose opinion I value and have been given the “thumbs up”. That quite frankly made my heart skip a beat and I may or may not have possibly peed a little in my pants with excitement.
During this month of NaNoWriMo, I have learnt that I am a “Panster”. I know that sounds like some kind of sleazy guy hanging out at a nightclub, but no, it is someone who writes without a well thought out plan. It is someone who doesn’t spend many weeks beforehand fully developing their characters before they start telling their story. A Panster sits down and writes, letting the story develop and take on a life of its own.
The little amount of planning I did do consisted of writing a list of the names of main characters, working out the beginning and working out the end. I also had a vague idea of the personalities of each of my main characters, but not too much else. Then I started writing. As I wrote I had to give them all life and personality. I had to build their family around them. It was easier than I thought. I was surprised. I enjoyed writing and letting them take me on their journey rather than me creating them. I liked the way they knew which way to go. It was like they had their own journey already mapped out and I was merely the conduit to get them onto the page.
I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed writing once I got into the zone. I have discovered I’m not someone who can just sit down and bash out a few hundred words in a spare ½ hour. I really do need to get in the zone and write for blocks of a couple of hours at a time. Given that I’m a Gemini, this could be why I also display some “non Pansterish” behaviour.
I am far from finished, in fact I’m probably not even half way through creating my characters, but I know that each one of them is already there, patiently waiting for me to let them out, one by one.
I hope that one day you all get to meet these people who I am going to be spending a lot of time with over the next 12 months. I can’t wait to share them.