Winning #NaNoWriMo2016

I have not been blogging as frequently as I once did. Aside from a busy semester, the other thing that can be blamed for that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

In the beginning of November, I wrote a couple posts about NaNoWriMo: one saying I was doing it “for real” and another about how making my own cover image for the book helped me stay focused. Now, I am pleased to announce that I did it. On November 29th, 2016, I ended the first draft of my novel, “Like Birds Under the City Sky” at 50, 555 words.

“Like Birds Under the City Sky” is the third novel I have completed a draft of and the experience of doing this first draft was very different than my other two novels. It was shorter, it was done in a small amount of time, and I didn’t find myself living the characters in the same way I had in other books.

I wasn’t making up the next Chapter as I was driving to work or falling asleep. I didn’t feel like I became these characters as I wrote them. However, I did write every day. I did do my usual mix of some planning and some making things up on the spot. I had an end in mind, but gave my self the freedom to meet the group of genetically modified cats that helped my characters defeat their enemies.

Is this novel better or worse than the last two I wrote? I don’t know yet.

The pieces that were part of the short story I had originally intended it to be are beautifully polished and the rest of it is rushed and choppy.

The one thing I think I did a better job with was having a more focused, obvious and specific want or need driving the characters: my characters want to survive, be accepted, and be free from the people who are hunting them. Since the characters were being driven by what I might call “simpler” wants than the characters of my other novels, the plot was easier to come by, however, I worry that the characters didn’t experience as much growth as characters in my first two attempts at novel writing.

For now, I’m going to be happy that I finished a daft in a month, and I’m going to let that draft rest. I plan to send more short stories out, and send out more queries for Out of Focus. After Christmas, when I am on winter break, I will begin the process of revising Like Birds Under the City Sky, and get a better sense of how NaNoWriMo really worked for me.

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