WriYe and Nano

Hey, so I realized that I hadn’t done the WriYe blog prompt for the month. And the month ends tomorrow.

(How goes my revision, you might ask. Well, I got to the chapter in the character book that talked about character arcs, and I was like, YES, give me tips on how to make a character arc, I need ideas for this so I can fix Lana’s arc, but it didn’t. It was like, here’s how you check your arc to make sure you’re not missing anything. I did eventually sit down and pull out a character arc, which is a huge step, but the book wasn’t as much help as I needed, and this was the area I really wanted help with. Alas.)

Anyway, prompt: Your thoughts on NaNoWriMo.

Being November, of course, it always comes back to NaNoWriMo.

(Funnily enough, WriYe, when I first joined it, was NaNoWriYe, and was a direct spinoff.)

I have been doing Nano forever. I’m sure I’ve told you guys this. I seriously considered doing it in 2002 (it started in 1999) and ended up not doing it as I was double majoring in two engineering degrees at the time and figured that was too much all at once, and 2003 was going to go the same way, except I woke up on Nov 3 with a fully-formed plot and gave into the urge.

2003 Nano was a very different place than modern Nano. I think there were only 5000 of us doing it. You could actually keep up with the entirety of the message boards.

I did not win Nano in 2003. I got, oh, 29K? I also got a concussion and the death flu. And that story has never been touched again.

I did and won Nano 2004-2011. In that time I wrote Book 1 (2004, 2005, 2009, 2010), Broken Mirrors (2006), What Lurks Beneath the Bleachers (2007), Shards (2008), and Book 2 (2011). (Book 1 lurks everywhere. Still. Continuously.)

Then the bigger, mobile one arrived, and I took a break.

2014 I won again with the Space Dinosaurs story, and then the smaller, mobile one showed up, and I didn’t come back until 2019, where I won with World’s Edge, and in 2020 I wrote my first ever complete draft with my cozy mystery.

Last year I only got 31K on Hallowed Hill, and yet here we are a year later, with it published and everything.

Nano was a huge deal to me when I was first getting started with writing. I mean, I’d always told stories, as long as I could remember, in various forms, but I didn’t often finish stories. I had (maybe still do, somewhere) a folder in high school where I’d put all my stories, and it was dozens of story starts–a few pages, maybe a chapter or two–but they never went anywhere. I never finished anything. I never even got more than a thousand words or so.

That first Nano, in 2003, showed me that I was capable of writing more. And when I got the initial draft of Book 1 done in 2005, that was huge. I had written a novel. Yes, it was terrible, but it was done.

And that is the magic of Nano–the ability to show you that you are capable of more than you think you are. And when I was first starting out, I needed that.

In 2006 I started writing year-round. I joined a number of writing groups, including WriYe, and I began to expand as a writer.

But now that I am a more experienced writer–Nano doesn’t really work for me anymore. I know I can write 50000 words in a month, but sometimes that’s not the right choice. Sometimes I need to focus on revising what I’ve already written instead of churning out more words. And Nano itself has changed. There’s so many people that it’s easy to feel lost, and not make the connections that used to be easy.

I will always remember Nano fondly. I lived in the Bay Area in the mid-2000s, and I got to meet Chris Baty (the founder) on several occasions, and he even remembered my name most of the time. I think I’m in some promotional video in there somewhere. And on one memorial occasion, I went to Nano HQ to help them box up and mail out merch that people had ordered.

(I’m sure they don’t do that themselves anymore.)

I love Nano, but I’m not in love with Nano, you know?

I think it’s a great program, and I hope many more people find it and get what they need out of it. It’s just not what I need anymore.

Thoughts on Nano, squiders? Thoughts on the impending avalanche that is Christmas? Hell, thoughts on character arcs?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: