NaNoWriMo in review

During the month of November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, with a goal to write 50,000 words on a new novel. I tried this challenge last year and didn’t make it very far, but since I’ve met this Autumn with a lot more writing direction and purpose, I wanted to try again. Much to my excitement, I was able to complete NaNo this year (with a total word count of 50,086 words at completion). While I completed the goal of NaNo, I still have more writing to do before the first draft is completed; my next goal is to finish draft 1 by the end of January 2015.

My novel (currently unnamed) follows the story of a teen-aged Egyptian boy who leaves his country in the Biblical exodus of the Israelites and then accompanies the Israelites in their journeying through the wilderness.

Writing 50,000 words in a month was first of all a lot of work, but it was also exciting and fun. In addition to that, it helped me learn several things about my writing style. The following points were my four most helpful tips and tricks for getting words written:

  • Update the word count tracker and study the progress graph. I don’t think I ever wrote more than about 300 words without updating the word count on my progress graph (except for the time I was in the car without wi-fi, but you can see why that had to be the exception). Following every update, I would thoroughly restudy the progress stats and mentally plan out a goal for reaching my next two hundred words of writing.
  • Pumpkin spice coffee. This helped me not freeze in this cold autumn weather and helped me be motivated to write…however that works. Somehow I always drank most all of my coffee before I wrote any words, but was one of the inspiring points that helped me complete NaNo! ;)
  • Start every chapter with the main character waking up in the morning. Somehow this happened- not good writing technique but a very convenient way to know how to start a chapter when I had no inspiration for anything more original.
  • Intense personal introspection for every important character. When starting a new chapter with the previously-mentioned method did not increase my word count enough, it was time to move onto the next and most-proven method of my writing: a deep and thorough look inside most every character’s brain. I know the fact that I used this technique means I have a lot of editing ahead of me. ;)

I learned some other (more useful) lessons from NaNo, but those shall be saved for upcoming posts. In the meantime, who else participated in NaNo? How did  it go for you? :)


18 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo in review

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  1. I didn’t know you did NaNoWriMo, Amy! Congrats on finishing!! Your story sounds good. :) I’d love to read it sometime.
    I kind of participated. I wanted to, and was going to try to just finish one of my “short” stories (it’s more like a full-length novel now – I’m not done with it though), and though I did get a ton of writing done last month (more than I probably would in any other month) I did not finish. That’s okay though, because it was exactly what God wanted me to do.
    Looking forward to hearing more about your NaNo experience!

    1. I’m so glad you were participating, too, Raechel! I think that’s a good perspective to have…it’s really more about writing than it is about winning. :) Btw, it’s been a while since I’ve written, but hopefully you’ll have a letter coming your way soon!

  2. Your story sounds very interesting! I was wondering if it was NaNoWriMo you were doing from what you said in your last letter. :) Congratulations on completing it! I’m glad you shared those tips and tricks. I’ll be keeping them in mind! (Well, except for the coffee part, as I’m not a coffee drinker. Maybe pumpkin spice tea instead!)

      1. No, I haven’t. It may be fun to try someday though. :) I’m just not sure if I would be able to write so much in one month… that’s why I’m quite impressed with you completing it. :D

    1. Sadly, no. I found I was woefully lacking in the necessary research to adequately complete the project, but I still hope to in the future. I’ll probably wait to get back to it, though, until I finish the novel I’m currently writing. :)

  3. Aw, I’m sorry. Oh, :) you have another one you’re working on? Cool! Do you plan on publishing it? ;)

      1. Thanks! Well, I hope to have the first draft done by the end of the year. I’m not quite prepared to say when I think I’ll actually be ready to publish it though. :)

  4. Okay! May I ask what it’s about? ;) Keep up the good work! I’m sure you’ll have it done sooner than expected. :D

    1. Sure– essentially it’s historical fic about an Intelligence Officer in WWII and a friendship he forms years later with a teenage guy in light of the experiences he had. Um, that probably doesn’t sound too interesting, but hopefully it it. ;) Thanks! I mean to keep working on it!

      1. Okay :) Hey, anything having to do with WWII has got to be good. =D I’ll look forward to whenever it’s finished. ;)

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