Yesterday I read a post on Chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds about the pro’s and con’s of participating in NaNoWriMo. His thoughts resonated with my own thinking for the last while–the ones where I think about what a load of crap I managed to create with my NaNo from 2007. The ones where I couldn’t complete last year’s NaNo because it lacked any kind of plot, substance, or likeable characters.
Like Chuck said:
Just because you try to run up a muddy hill in cement sneakers doesn’t mean you’re getting a good workout, and more importantly, you’re damn sure not getting anywhere. So, the work I did was unmitigated snotgobs.
Snotgobs. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Go read his post, he makes some very salient points. And he’s forced me to re-evaluate my reasons for doing NaNo. I loved the first year when I didn’t know any better. Ah innocence, it has such charm. Too bad you have to re-write.
From that pressure cooker of a first draft, I’ve kept less than half. Less than a third. By the time I’m finished, the only thing that will remain are a handful of characters and the sub-plot. Yes, that’s right, the sub-plot is what the book was about in the first place. I’ve spent the last three months re-writing the book from the very beginning. Except for a few character names, it won’t even resemble the original draft.
Just think how much easier things would have been if I’d actually taken the time to write things down first. Sometimes that means sketching out snippets of dialogue, or maybe a description of a scene. To me, anything I write is still part of the NaNo process, and then I feel like I’m cheating. God, I hate cheating. So I’m rethinking NaNo for this year. That way I can start when I’m ready. Like tomorrow, if it works out that way.