This is the last e-mail and post for this round of Novel Writing Week. I just wanted to put down some of my final thoughts on NoWriWe before they ran screaming from my memory.
First things first:
I want to send a HUGE congratulations to all those who tried out our first Wordtrip Novel Writing Week. Those of us who aimed for short stories had a much easier time hitting our goal than our one ambitious person who aimed for Novelist level did. BUT Hissmonster, our solitary novelist, managed to get down a ton of words during one week. The point of Novel Writing Week is much like that of NaNoWriMo; get something down on paper. To all of you who attempted the process this time, my hat is off to you. Go grab a nap and a cup of coffee and savor the victory.
More lessons learned:
We all know, from almost any book on writing you can pick up, that the biggest part of writing is getting your butt in the chair and the words on the page. This week was a fine example of that. My story played off a single scene I devised months ago. The original scene was only 600 words or so. What I did though, was take those characters, and that setting, and introduce a bit of conflict and off it went. At times it didn’t move as well as I’d like, but in the end it did move.
What I didn’t do, was go back and constantly revise and edit things to make them fit the newest situation. By the end of the week my characters had lost a couple decades of age, the setting had grown to a much larger town, moved from Mexico to central America (probably Belize), and generally morphed into it’s own world. Normally I’d have taken a break a few thousand words in to make things match up. But the beauty of a deadline is that you get the words on the page, you keep the story moving, and you don’t waste writing time going back to edit (which won’t help you reach that word count goal).
My story isn’t finished yet (though I made my word count goal), and I’m not even sure if this will be an 8000 word short story when I’m done, or a 60,000 word novel. But I’ve taken it to heart that I’m not going to go back and tweak those first 5000 words till I’m finished with SOMETHING. This will be the first time I’ve had complete first and second drafts of a story. I’m debating at this point changing the setting even more and making the rest of the story into more of a western. If I do that, when I go back to write draft #2 from scratch, I’ll take all of that into account, and flesh out those first scenes even more.
If you go back and read my last post, you’ll see how I advocated planning. I wish I had more planning involved in this story. If I did, I’d probably have less re-writing to do. But, now that I have a basis, I’m not going to kill my momentum and go back and plan everything else out now. Next time though, I’ll try the suggested method of scene cards, develop a framework, and then lay the net of words over that; which brings me to my next point.
Now that we’ve got our first Wordtrip Novel Writing Week under our belt, we’re looking at when we’re going to do this again. If we do four of these a year, I think we’ll aim for the last week of October, January, April, and July. If we aim for only two, then April and October seem the most likely candidates. We will also be doing a Novel Editing Week between each time we have a Writing Week (probably two months after any given Writing Week). I’m not deluded enough to think that anybody is going to use these weeks to pound out 4 novels in a year. But if you take two for short stories, one for novella, and one for novel, we’ll all have a huge jump in our accomplished writing for the year. Heck if I just use it for four big short stories in a year I’ll have a good jump. Once the final decision is made, I’ll send out an e-mail to all members of Wordtrip with that schedule.
NaNoWriMo and how we fit:
NaNoWriMo’s policy is that you have to write your 50,000 words on a new novel, so you probably won’t be taking your 5600 words from WNWW and parlaying that into a 56000 word novel the next month. But if you’re looking for some good advice on binge writing, we hope you’ll come here for some inspiration. I also hope that some of you will take this week as a catalyst to keep writing on a regular basis.
My hope is that if we have people who want to participate in NaNoWriMo in November, that they will sign up for a short story level in October, and get their juices flowing during that week. Then, with proper planning in place for NaNoWriMo, leave their short story behind to plow into the Novel length adventure in November. Hopefully a week of writing 800 words a day will get the writing muscle loosened up and ready to make the jump to 1600 a day for a month.
Thanks again to all who helped with Novel Writing Week and congratulations to those writers who participated. Keep Writing and Happy Wordtripping!