It was a very crazy November this year, which I’ve already talked about a little, so in today’s reflection on NaNoWriMo 2019, I’m going to focus more on my story, and the experiment with plotting, and how I feel that went.
I went into November with an outline. This has never happened before. I’m that writer in the region who is famous for picking out their idea on Halloween, or starting over three times when the story isn’t working. In light of that, I think I did pretty well with trying to follow my outline.
I originally outlined two interacting main plots, but then abandoned one when I couldn’t think of anything interesting to do with setbacks. So it turned into a fairly straightforward friends-to-lovers kind of romance. I even wrote most of the major beats that were in the outline. I’m not at all sure it works as a whole story though, and I randomly introduced a potential antagonistic ex in a sprint, so I’ve been playing around with that as a way to extend the book and be the problem my couple is dealing with. And maybe that will lead to the outing of my dragon (as a dragon) and that will be the big problem climax issue they have to deal with.
I should probably read what I have before I make those decisions.
I did some other prep in addition to my outline, mostly in the form of free-writing about the idea, characters, and potential plot. The character development went quite well. I knew them both fairly well before I started writing, and that always makes things easier. I definitely want to continue doing that part of the planning process moving forward.
The outline I feel a little more ambivalent about. It might have helped if I consulted it more often (or at all in the second half of the month). The whole point of writing down the outline was so I had a guide. I think maybe I just need to make sure it’s digital next time. I’m not great about consulting paper notes for my story anymore. I do almost everything on my computer these days.
Having the outline digital would also let me make adjustments as I go, so if I take off on a tangent I can decide if that changes all the things after, or if it’s just a new side-plot. I have no idea if that would actually help, but I like the idea of the outline being more malleable and changeable if I need it to be.
I think the experiment was enough of a success that I should keep trying out ways to be a planner. I expect I wrote far fewer scenes that are completely unnecessary this year compared to past Novembers. There are definitely scenes I need to cut though, and scenes to shorten, rearrange, or expand. I’m never going to get it so close to right on the first pass that I don’t need to do all those editing tasks. But maybe, just maybe, this book will require less rewriting and revision than book 2, which has been through quite a lot over the years. That will be back on my to-do list in January when I have time again.
If you participated in NaNoWriMo this year, how was it? Did you try anything new? Or was it NaNo as usual for you?