Wednesday, December 01, 2010

NaNo Post Mortem

All righty, I'm now 3 for 4 on NaNoWriMo (not even sure you can count 2007's pathetic showing as a try). As much as I loved the 2008 story, I think this year's is better. Now, how I got from a Science Fiction comedy in the vein of Hitchhiker's or Red Dwarf that I couldn't see past chapter 3 of to a mystery that I couldn't see past Chapter 1 of to a Hornby/Tropper-esque coming of age tale to an Urban Fantasy that morphed mere hours before I started into a straight-up Fantasy, I have no clue. But I really, really like what resulted.

The way the plot developed sorta surprised me, I'd envisioned three parts. Part I took place in 1985, would go on for maybe three or four chapters. Then Part 2 would be a chapter -- a little longer, maybe. And then Part 3 would make up the majority of the novel. Yeah, well, best laid plans and all that, right? I never got to part 2 (I wrote a bit of it tonight at work, after the month was over), part 1 just was too interesting. I'm still trying to decide if I make Part 2 an epilogue, and then pick up part 3 next November, or if I keep plowing away. You can see a short bit about it here.

So anyway, what about Frodo? Well, he didn't win this year, he had a hard time shuffling priorities around and it bit him (tho' he did put up a valiant effort the last night in two hours, writing about twice what he spent all day Saturday composing). So he's 2 for 3. BUT, I will say this about what he wrote, it's a whole different kind of writing than he's done before. His first two NaNo's were pretty cartoonish, with flat characters, and rather slapdash and out of control--the second was a great improvement over the first. But it wasn't until I read this year's work, that I realized how far he hadn't come then. His protagonist this year -- and a couple of the secondary characters -- were people, who acted like people. They thought, they spoke like someone you'd actually meet. Not a family of 4 who'd eat 500 pizzas a day for dinner or something. Does he have a long way to go? Yes. Is he a better writer than his old man was at that age? Probably. Anyway, not technically a win as far as the rules go, so chalk this one up as a moral victory.

I got a good deal of help along the way--back in August I threw up a post that got some interesting suggestions here and in other places. My old high school pal, Brent, saw something I said on Facebook and hooked me up with a great book about writing about fighting (I'll talk more about that some other time). A friend from college, Erika, who also also does this 30 day mad-dash, was a great source of encouragement -- not only in what she said, but also by leading me in the word count for most of the month, giving me something to shoot for. My kids were always supportive, even when (especially when?) they were distracting me from the work. And, of course, TLoML who listened to me moan about how impossible it was this year, pretended to give a crap when I babbled in the vaguest manner possible about minor victories I'd made, and generally indulged me in this for the month. Thank you all of you.

Enough about this for now...on to other things, there'll be something different tomorrow, like something about Neti Pots or...I dunno. We'll see.