After completing the challenge in November, most people end up with what one fellow Wrimo called draft 0.5, i.e. not even a first draft. The more I look at my previous NaNoWriMo attempts, the more I agree with him. It is definitely more of words on paper/screen that vaguely fit together than a coherent first draft ready to be edited. It has taken my quite a few years to get this insight.
The project I’ve gotten the furthest on, was the first NaNoWriMo novel I even considered edit once it was complete. After further editing stages I sent it out to agents, where the closest I got a to a positive response was an encouraging letter that wasn’t worded like a standard response. Since then I enrolled on to an editing course and quickly found all faults with the novel. I then put it to the side, convinced I did not have the tools to find the solutions to the quite predictable manuscript I had written.
But as often these things pan out, once I stopped fretting about it, a solution to the largest plot hole came to me and I decided to give the novel one last chance. The response to the first bit, has been positive. I came runner up in a crimes and thriller competition for the first chapter, which spurred me on to continue tackle the story. In the first couple of months this year, I hope to have finished the complete re-write and once again send it out to agents, this time with a bit more confidence that it is my best attempt.
My second project for the year, ended November in the waste basked sooner than I could press the winner’s button. I left the idea in the fun but not successful experience pile. But the story would just not leave me alone. The theme, women in power and the environment are too interesting to give up on. I had to do something about the words on the screen though as they were only loosely held together by these themes. The biggest issue as I saw it was the plot, that put me to sleep. There was no conflict, simply things happening to the two main characters. I then decided to not even look at the draft, but keep the theme, while re-writing the plot line. I hope to be able to write the whole story again before November this year when I will once again tackle a new NaNoWriMo project.
My last project for the year is to look through my most recent NaNoWriMo attempt and see if there is even a smidgen of the idea left that I first had. That is as much as I would want to do with it this year.
What does your writing year look like? Any big projects to finish? Or are you working on something smaller this year?