Nanowrimo 2016

This was my third time participating in, and winning Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) where you commit to writing 50 000 words during the month of November.

I am what the Nano community calls a Plotter, meaning that I have my story pretty much figured out before November 1st rolls around. Other people, called Pantsers, might have a general idea, but they don’t necessarily know where the story is going. I have not only done the November challenges, but the April and July ones as well, referred to as Camp Nano, where you choose how many words you write. Every time, I have gone in knowing the people in the story, with chapter descriptions, a plot, and knowing what the story was about. Except for this time.

I was still a Plotter, in the sense that I knew my characters and exactly what happens in the story; the timeline was solid in my head. But if you ask me, I can’t really tell you what the story is about. I can tell you what happens, and who’s involved, but this was when I found out these aren’t the same thing.

My goal is usually to write 2000 words a day, and I am very often ahead of schedule. Both previous years, I validated my word count almost as soon as winning started (the 21st of November) with more than 50 000 words. This year, I barely made it over 50 000 and validated on the last possible day. I got a bit behind in the beginning, but I wasn’t worried; it wasn’t unusual for me to write 4-5000 words in a single day. Then this year came along and I was struggling. I would write for hours and only come up with a couple hundred words.

I usually write for me, so I don’t think about following a plot outline or whether the story is one that other people would want to read, as long as I do. I’m not saying this is something I should change, because if you always write what you want to read, then you can be sure you’ll always have one happy reader 🙂 but in the future, when I am writing something I would like to get published, I will spend a little more time plotting a cohesive story rather than just knowing a timeline.

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”

-Ernest Hemingway


  • Joe Owens

    Amanda this was my second try but my first win. I like the structure of NaNoWriMo because it creates this push to get something written. I took the plotter approach this year which allowed me to exceed the 50K mark by almost half again by November 3oth. I am glad to see you have such a good plan in place. Good lukc as you edit in 2017!

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