I’m not saying it’s great art. It may have a plot only a mother could love. But there’s really something to be said for sitting down and writing a book from start to finish. You get a sense of when you need to reel in the suspense and when you need to give it some slack. Plus, since it wasn’t “real,” I did all kinds of ridiculous, horrible things to my characters without fear, including making a former good guy into an antagonist.
And it keeps me up until late at night when I read it, wanting just one more page, just one more.
Sometimes I think the NaNo novel should become my primary novel. But then I realize a lot of its charm lies in already knowing what “really” happened, in seeing how differently things could have turned out. There’s the thrill of already knowing a character and thinking we know how they’ll react in new situations. We already know a character when they’re first introduced to the story, so there’s that shock of recognition paired with curiosity over what will happen now that the protagonist is coming at them from a different angle, in a different situation.
- Channel some of that headlong, uninhibited energy into my main WIP.
- Try to forget how much I like last year’s NaNo novel when I dive into the fray this November. Keep it just for fun and don’t try to make it real.
- No editing as I go along. I thought my story and prose were garbage as I wrote last year. (So maybe absence does make the heart grow fonder.)
- Stop blathering about NaNoWriMo (until it arrives — then you’re out of luck).
- Don’t stay up until the wee hours anymore unless I’m writing! New stuff! Not old!