03 December 2006

This Year's NaNo Lessons

1. Finishing in Not-So-Record Time. Every time I write 50,000 words in 30 days it takes me longer. The first time it was 23 days, last year it was 27 days, this year it was 28 days. I vaguely wonder why that is.

2. The End. This NaNo represents the first time I have not reached The End, as in The End of The Story. The other two NaNos were dragged kicking and screaming to their respective ends. In the case of the first NaNo, this meant condensing about six chapters into four sentences. In the case of the second NaNo, this meant rushing through a vampire fight scene that ended up including a muskrat. Yes, really. I'm much happier having blown off that particular No Plot, No Problem advice this time.

3. Hijackers. Normally, my plot hijackers have names that start with L. So this time I deliberately avoided L names for my characters. Not only did that not do me any good - I still ended up with a hijacker named Luther (in chapter 1, no less) - but I also ended up with one named Sigrun. Go figure.

4. To Hell with Padding. I admit to having used such padding techniques as avoiding contractions in my first two NaNos. I planned to do it this time, too. And I did it. For one day. And it drove me nuts, so I said forget it and just wrote. I did just fine and my brain was much happier for not having to force my fingers to laboriously remember to avoid the apostrophe key.

5. Accomplishment with an Infant in the House is Actually Possible. This is, perhaps, my most important lesson. I had serious doubts this time about finishing. Hell, I had serious doubts about being able to write at all, what with Ms. Baby and her frequent screaming fits. But I proved to myself that it can be done (even in the midst of said screaming fits). I also reminded myself that, when I make myself find the time, I really do know how to do things other than change diapers and ensure that babies are properly latched on.

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