2014 NaNoWriMo Mini-Series: Plowing Our Way to 50K–Final Round!

nanotoons_2013_dec_01a

Whew! What a busy and crazy month November was. I thrive on the self-imposed deadlines I create for myself, but it’s not always easy to keep things in perspective during NaNoWriMo. As of this moment, I am letting my completed words gel a bit. Maybe that will help bring perspective into focus a bit.

With NaNoWriMo over, this final post is here to serve as a wrap up to our busy writing month. It is my hope that you all might be inspired to try some of the techniques used to plan out or write your next work. So much can be learned from each other!

If you are checking out this mini-series for the first time, the Round One post can be found here:  http://wp.me/p35Mk4-fr

And Round Two can be found here:  http://wp.me/p35Mk4-fr

Thanks so much for checking in, and following our progress as we went along! And as usual, I’d love for you to chime in with your own NaNo14 experiences.


Susan Nystoriak: In 5 words or less, describe your

month of writing for NaNoWriMo 2014.

dianaDiana Pinguicha: 

I slacked it off.

Ali picAli Carey Billedeaux: 

Absolutely out of control.

Alessa Hinlo profile picAlessa Hinlo:

Waving the white flag.

Margarita polaroidMargarita Montimore:

Effective kick-start for rough draft.

Mary Ann NicholsonMary Ann Nicholson:

Unexpected All Zombie Rock Band.

Alexis Larkin PictureAlexis Larkin:

Sprints + Teething + Pantsing + Pie + Outlining = NaNoWriMo

Shawn PicShawn Thomas Anderson:

Frenetic. Furious. Ferocious. Fabulous. Fun.

Danielle DoolittleDanielle Doolittle:

INSANE. Stressful. Exciting. Fun. Exhilarating.


Susan Nystoriak: Regardless of if you made

the 50K word count goal, were you able to complete

a first draft during NaNo14?

Diana Pinguicha:

No. I didn’t even reach the 50k this year, because I was SO ADDICTED to Dragon Age: Inquisition. I still am. Because, achievements and dragon slaying and ALL THE ROMANCES.

Ali Carey Billedeaux:

Nope, not even close. I started from scratch for this baby, and I didn’t make the goal. I’m not too worried though, it was my first shot at historical fiction and that turns out to require WAY more research than I have time for in one month. I’m already a little bit of a crazy-person when it comes to writing (AKA my characters do whatever they want), but the research made it crazier. It was like everything I read in my studies gave me another idea for a direction my story could go. Which was not congruent, as you might imagine, to the plot-finishing thing.

Alessa Hinlo:

I severely underestimated the effect Pitch Wars would have on me. Between finishing revisions, cheering for the participants, and starting to query that novel, I was mentally exhausted. Not the best frame of mind to start a new novel!

Margarita Montimore:

No, but I have 25K words and made good inroads.

Mary Ann Nicholson:

I finished my WIP early but since I started it at 32K, I needed 82K words to Nano. I took some time off of Nano and started to do revisions instead. My word count continued to grow with the revisions, despite monster deletions, and I found myself 10K away from winning Nano. I decided to go for the win by rewriting some scenes from scratch and adding an epilogue. When I found myself 1500 words away with absolutely nothing else to do, I killed my MFC in a massacre and sent her off to join a zombie rock band.

Alexis Larkin:

I made it to 50,000 words. Woot-woot! It is a very rough first draft, though.

Shawn Thomas Anderson:

I didn’t finish, but it was a very productive month.  I had some other projects going on. I actually wrote five short stories and still managed to get a strong start on my NaNoWriMo manuscript. I also did some serious plotting and characterization for the manuscript that I started. I bet if I was to add up all the writing counts for the month, I would have hit that goal (or come darn close).

Danielle Doolittle:

Unfortunately, no.


Susan Nystoriak: What’s next for this manuscript?

Are you still finishing up the story? Are you jumping right into editing mode?

Will it be shelved for a bit?

Diana Pinguicha:

Well, since I’m now living in shame because I didn’t finish Nano this year (again, I got addicted to Dragon Age), and my other manuscript needs polishing, Sightless is getting shelved for a bit. Afterwards, I’ll write those last 30k and jump right into editing.

Ali Carey Billedeaux:

I’m still writing! Trekking right along!

Alessa Hinlo:

Given how much of a bust this year’s NaNo was, I’m still in the beginning phases. Right now, I’m taking my time to set a strong foundation: doing some research, plotting more thoroughly, and the like.

Margarita Montimore:

I’m getting into the real meat of the story now and will take my time drafting the rest. Hoping to have a rough draft completed by the end of January.

Mary Ann Nicholson:

I’m shipping this MS off to a CP and won’t look at it again until she’s given me her honest opinion. I’ll go back to editing it in January.

Alexis Larkin:

This manuscript is in the drawer, marinating for at least two months. I absolutely plan on rewriting and editing this manuscript to a final, polished draft, but I expect that process to continue throughout the year.

Shawn Thomas Anderson:

I’m going to put it in the cupboard for a bit. I love the concept, but I need to work on the characters more. My efforts this month also made me realize that I need to read more magical realism.

Danielle Doolittle:

I’ll be finishing it! I had A LOT of roadblocks this NaNo, mostly personal and mostly stressful so my writing time took a serious hit. But there will be no shelfing because I’m loving this story!


Susan Nystoriak: Now that NaNoWriMo is over,

tell us what you can about your manuscript.

Diana Pinguicha:

Not a lot more than I already have, but since I *have* written a synopsis, I can expand on it.

Sightless is about how the world changes according to the person seeing it. It’s “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” taken in a different direction, and because I wanted someone with a completely fresh perspective, the main character is a blind girl who discovers she can see through other people’s eyes when she inadvertently wakes a boy from a coma by using an unused part of the brain—the psyche.

Problem is, when Aisling brings Reid back, something else comes along with it: A being from the Otherworld, where the souls of the dead go, and wants the two worlds to coexist. It begins to stretch its influence and corrupting the world of the living, and by using her gift of second sight, Aisling and Reid work to find out how it can be stopped and what exactly is the psyche—and how far its power goes.

It doesn’t end well, naturally.

So, second person. Perspective changes. Throw in romance because I can’t live without it.

Ali Carey Billedeaux:

It’s historical fiction, set in Venice at the end of its grand history. It spans about 8 years and has some political, cultural, and feminist issues all tied in there. It’s duel POV, framed narrative.

Alessa Hinlo:

A tale of two best friends gone awry.

Margarita Montimore:

It’s about two women who end up at a mysterious island resort where people go to disappear and try to untangle the hotel’s secrets while dealing with their own issues. There will probably be some light paranormal elements to it but I’m trying to avoid making it a straight-up haunted house story.

Mary Ann Nicholson:

It ended up being a romance about the need to feel wanted and loved for who you are. Both the MC and MFC have reasons to wonder throughout whether their attraction is real because of who he is and what she’s done. I’m still working out how to elevator pitch it though.

Alexis Larkin:

THROW OFF THE BOW LINES is a romantic comedy set in some of my favorite places – New York, Italy, and Tanzania.

Shawn Thomas Anderson:

It’s ‘80s magical realism concept based on an event in my life. I wrote a little bit about the true-life event and then took it to a whole new fictional extreme. Sorry this is so vague and secretive, but it’s still such a work in progress. I will say that MTV plays a huge role in the story.

Danielle Doolittle:

Sure! Here’s the brief synopsis I came up with for the story:

Hannah Rowen has a problem: her big brother’s construction business is about to go under and the stubborn man is too proud to ask for help. When Hannah sees a casting call for a new reality game show she knows she’s found the solution to her brother’s problem. The only problem? She’s got to convince Gavin Mitchell, her brother’s best friend, to pretend to be her fiancé.

Gavin hasn’t lived by a lot of rules but one is pretty much etched in stone: Keep his hand’s off Hannah if he values a certain appendage. It was the first and last warning, Rick, his best friend had ever issued nearly fifteen years ago and one he wasn’t about to violate. So when Hannah approaches him about playing her fiancé for a television show he knows he’s found himself in a special kind of hell. Because he’s got a secret: he’s been in love with Hannah for as long as he can remember.

Six weeks and prize of half a million dollars is on the line but one thing’s for certain: there’s not guarantees in The Game of Love.


Susan Nystoriak: Finally, do you have any closing

thoughts about your NaNo 2014 experience,

or with taking part in this mini series?

Diana Pinguicha:

The mini-series was fun, although this year’s NaNo went down the drain. I do have a huge little problem with video games, which is, when I’m addicted to one, I can’t stop until I get it out of my system. It’d have been all fine and dandy if I didn’t work a full-time job, but alas, I needed to be at work from 10-19, and afterwards, I just wanted to play Inquisition and writing got forgotten. So, this years’s NaNo? Not that great. BUT YOU GUYS, NOBODY EXPECTS THE DRAGON AGE INQUISITION.

Also, Cullen was too hot and pretty and I needed to see that porking romance through. NO REGRETS.

And I may or may not be writing secret citrus-y fanfic on the background.

Ali Carey Billedeaux:

I still recommend NaNo, even if you can’t finish it. I love the experience, but it’s more fun when you have a little more time. Reading the forums is a great way to waste time and it’s fun to meet more people. You should always, always, always at least give it a shot. You never know what will happen!

As for this mini series, it’s been fun! I don’t usually keep updates up about how my writing is going and I found that this helped keep me focused, especially at the beginning. Towards the end, of course, no amount of focus could rescue me!

Alessa Hinlo:

Even though my NaNo word count is dismal, I learned a couple important things in November. When I complete a novel, I can’t immediately jump into another. I need time to rest and recharge my batteries. Sure, I could have forced the story to get the words out, but would that have been a productive use of my time? This information is all good to know for future scheduling and deadlines!

Margarita Montimore:

NaNo 2014 was a good experience, but the timing wasn’t conducive for me to completing a draft. There was too much else to do with the novel I completed earlier in the year, from editing to querying to drafting pitches for it, which always took priority (and still are). I also think I do a bit better not having such a massive word count goal hanging over me and taking my time. I’m not one of those people who can churn out four novels a year; I need time for ideas to marinate. Still, I do have about 25% of a new novel drafted and some solid ideas on where I want it to go.

As for taking part in this mini series, it was a pleasure. I enjoyed reading about other writers’ experiences with Nano and could commiserate with some of the common struggles. Life will often try to get in the way, but we keep writing through it.

Mary Ann Nicholson:

The mini-series was a great way to read how other people approach Nano. Nano is an excellent event for allowing writers to build some steam and cheer one another on. I tend to draft fast, so it has helped me kick out two novels quickly. I’ve dragged some of my friends into it kicking and screaming, and though they didn’t make the 50K goal, they still got a lot out of the daily writing. I’m glad I happened to have an idea to work on at the right time.

Alexis Larkin:

I loved participating in the mini-series. Discussing my writing process really helped me frame my goals for NaNoWriMo and come up with new things to try in this project.

As for NaNo 2014, I tried pantsing for the first time on a large-scale project. It was so much fun at first. I flew through the first few chapters pounding out the scenes and enjoying how the characters revealed themselves to me in this process. Then everything fell apart for a few days. I knew generally where the book was going, but without having thought through the specific scenes, I found myself wandering through the story, hunting and pecking for scenes to write. I much prefer to take that free-wheeling approach in the outlining process, putting it all together, and then working off my outline. I ended up outlining on November 15, and am very happy I did. I will leave the pantsing to the pantsers and outline for NaNoWriMo 2015.

Thank you, Susan. The mini-series was a wonderful experience.

Shawn Anderson:

This has been a great forum to talk about the experience. I met some great writers in the process and words went flying every which way. Next year, it’s so on!

Danielle Doolittle:

This series has been so much fun! I know I missed a post due to all the crazy that’s been happening around here but I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on NaNo. As I said earlier, this NaNo season hasn’t been kind to me but I’m not going to let a few roadblocks get in the way of me finishing this novel.

Until next year!

XoXo


I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for following along!  What did you think of the NaNoWriMo mini-series?

Were you inspired to try some new techniques for your own writing projects?

Comment below 🙂

 

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