“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.”
– Stephen King
October is almost over and done with and that means one thing; NaNoWriMo.
November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the goal during this month is to write a first draft of a novel of your choice that is at least 50,000 words long. Now that isn’t actually that long of a book (most being 100,000 – 150,000 or more) so I’m actually going to continue NaNoWriMo into December. But that’s another story.
Last year was my first year of taking part in NaNoWriMo and it was an amazing experience. Taking in word sprints and just being engrossed in a world of other writers was just extraordinary – even if I did fail epically. Well no, I managed to write just over 21,000 words which for a first attempt is pretty good. But I’m still relatively disappointed in my work because I could have won if i’d only managed my time better.
But then again, I was in my final year of A-Levels, I was just finishing one production and starting another, had three and a half deadlines to do, two pieces of coursework and mocks. So I can understand when you look at the evidence why I failed.
Actually, I wasn’t even going to do NaNo last year. I’d always said that I’d take part when I was at uni/drama school/ gap year because I’d have a lot more time on my hands and a lot less work (time is true, work not so much) but I woke up from this dream on 31st October and I just ‘let’s do it’. I loved the idea but I just didn’t write that much and what I did write was awful. But i’m back at it again and determined to win.
So, let’s talk about my novel. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about it but I will say that it is a dystopian ya novel – that follows the idea from last year. Now i’m not cheating because so many things have changed. Yes the world is the same. Yes, my main character is the same. But the anti hero has changed three times since then. My love interest is completely different. And The over plot has changed completely. Where my mid point is now was where I was going to end it all last year so that says something. The first act is basically the same though my main character’s occupation has changed so that explains more about her and explains why she’s known by people. The actual design of the place is different because one of my flat mates who’s an artist has been helping design and I now see it completely different and I like it a lot more.
With the plot itself, I was finishing it at the mid point because I didn’t know what I wanted to do – that’s where the dream had ended – so I just sort of stepped back said it would be a duology. But I hated that idea when I came back to look at it, I wanted it to be a standalone so I started to come up with a new idea.
The ending that I then came up with, I didn’t realise at the time, was a complete copy of another book that i’d read about three years ago. And it was when I was cleaning my bookshelf, picked up said book and realised this and just went “time to change that!” But I’m so glad that I’ve changed it because the idea that I have now is so much better. I only discovered it the other day when I was talking to one of my flatmates about the Three Act, Nine Block Structure and this idea just came flying into my head. And I just squealed and ran off; leaving her very confused to say the least.
As I’ve mentioned I’m using the Three Act Structure for the first time. Which is kind of weird. Usually when I outline a novel I bullet point the chapters and say what has to happen in those chapters; down to the tiniest detail. This is how i’ve done most of my fan fictions for years but that means that I don’t put any other details so the chapters can be incredibly short. This time I wrote the major plot points that I wanted to happen and then used the Three Act Structure to determine when and where and how they happened.
In the Three Act Structure you have your three acts which consist of the set up of the world, the conflict that moulds the characters, and the resolution. Then in each of the individual acts you have a set up, a conflict and a resolution, and then in these individual blocks you have a set up, a conflict and a resolution. Because everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. Makes a lot of sense really, right?
Going back to my planning, another difference with this NaNo is that everything is written in a notebook. There’s something about hand writing things that makes me develop the world and everything that happens even further without over planning. In this book I have my different character descriptions for all my main and side characters, then I have a list of 270 names because there are 270 characters and I need to keep of them all, then I have backstories and plot lines and world building things. I still need to write out some area descriptions on key places just to make it easier for me when I come to write but other than that my planning is basically done! Yes!
If you’ve been reading this and have decided to take part in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, here is the link to their website in which you sign up: http://nanowrimo.org
Although you can write all year round, obviously, I love taking part in Nano because of the community behind it. You can do word sprints by yourself or with people on the forums or on twitter and that just sort of boosts your love for what you’re doing because it can be very stressful having to write at least 1667 words a day to win. And there are both virtual and real life write ins. This is where a group from your city get together – organised by nano themselves so nobody is in danger of anything – and sit and write. It is an amazing feeling because you pour off one another’s energy and can talk about what you’re doing and they can help if you’re stuck. Nano really brings the writing community together which can really help when all you want to do is cry because of how crap you think your writing actually is.
If you are taking part this year, what writing and add me. My names IAMAGEEKINGGINGER on there so be my buddy and let’s support each other through these dark times.
Book Total of 2016 – 82