As you probably know, I participated last year in an exercise in group insanity called NaNoWriMo. This is short for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every year. I’ve participated three years in a row, as well as a handful of “Camp NaNo” sessions, which are mini versions of the event that take place in April and July, typically.
For the past three years, I have written a novel during each iteration of NaNo. (Vernacular time: NaNo is both the month and the project one is working on, WriMo is the person participating… At least, these are true in my world.) My books have been varied – a young adult dystopia, a redraft of that same YA dystopia, and a sequel to Falling Apart (it does exist!). For camp, I have written a variety of things, including the very first early stages of Falling Apart, and several short stories.
There are two ways to participate in NaNo. There’s the traditional way, in which one writes 50,000 words (ideally 1667 per day or more), that all collectively “go together” and become a single novel, and then there’s the rebellious way, in which one does whatever one wants. I plan to rebel this year. Now, rebelling doesn’t come without its rules – you still must write 50,000 words. My second year of NaNo, the year I rewrote the dystopia (that will never see the light of day), I was a rebel, because the 50k are meant to be new words on a new work. Last year, writing “The Sequel” as it’s fondly titled, I rebelled because it’s under 50k, so I made up the difference by working on a few side projects, including a short story and a fanfic that never got off the ground. (Speaking of which, I should dust that thing off… I really liked it.)
This year, I will be rebelling once again. Someone told me recently that she feels like I’m always rebelling, and that’s because it’s true! I hardly ever fit inside the NaNo box, but I still have three WINNER t-shirts to show for my concerted efforts (and successes). This year’s rebellion will be different from the others in that I’ll exclusively be working on my sexy shorts. My plan is to write an anthology of ten shorts, at least 5,000 words each. That’ll net me at least 50k, and I’ll hopefully once again earn myself a WINNER t-shirt.
There are two other categories that separate NaNo participants from one another. Planners plan out their novels, however carefully, and head into November with an idea of what they’re writing. Pantsers on the other hand fly by the seat of their pants, go in without a plan, sometimes without a plot at all. There are, of course, varying degrees of planner and pantser – some planners are meticulously planned to the last detail, some just have a general idea of plot points. Some pantsers have no idea what they’re even going to write about, some have a solid plot in mind with little else planned. I am a hybrid. I used to be a strict pantser, but last year I planned and found it both easier and harder to write. This year I think I may go in with a handful of general plots in mind, but nothing very detailed.
I’m curious if any of my readers are participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Let’s hear what your experiences have been like, and what your plan is for this year!