Saturday, November 26, 2011

The difference between the 2010 and 2011 NaNoWriMos for me

This was my second NaNoWriMo, and my second success.

There were a lot of differences between the two years for me.

Last year I had one child. This year we have two.

Last year my wife watched the kid while I worked. This year there was none of that, I wrote on the bus and after the kids were in bed.

Last year it was a Fantasy YA with a lot of magic and fae creatures. This year was SciFi/Horror with zombies and a lot of death.

Last year I had a plot and a plan when I began. This year I was totally "pantsing" it, and only realized I could add a plot -- by way of a McGuffin -- after I had written 50k words.

Last year I didn't listen to my intuition when it told me the antagonist should be young -- I acknowledged it after the 50k was written and I am now facing a larger rewrite. This year I can slip the plot in to what I have fairly easily.

Last year I would write a scene and be stuck -- sometimes for the rest of the day. This year things just kept flowing -- I sometimes needed to force myself to stop when it was just getting too late.

Here's the big ones:

Last year it felt like I was a computer guy experimenting with writing a novel. This year I felt like an amateur novelist growing in my craft that just also happens to have techy experience.

Last year, after NaNoWriMo I worked on some other tech-related projects. I never got around to editing the novel -- even though I loved the world, characters and story. This year I have acknowledged I don't have any out-standing techy projects anymore. I am going to finish the 2011 novel, and I am looking forward to editing the 2010 novel.

I used to be concerned I wasn't doing enough to "sharpen the saw" in my spare time. Now writing and editing are seen as "sharpening the saw" -- just the "author" saw and not the "computer guy" saw.


  1. Hey Steven,

    Are the novels available for reading? This sounds like such a cool idea.

  2. If you want an early preview, make sure you follow "S. W. Black" on Google+.

    If you're familiar with NaNoWriMo, you'll know that what is initially written is in no shape to share with anyone. Even my wife hasn't read any of it.

    I will be doing the zombie novel first. It is the 2011 NaNo novel. I am not a writer that does a lot of explicit sex stuff, but it does have a lot of killing and canibalism (not always in that order). It's a slightly different take on zombies. The current title for this one is "The Creeps."

    The 2010 NaNo novel is a YA, so it is a lot cleaner in terms of the language. It starts off like a typical urban fantasy, but as the magic soaks in to people it rapidly becomes something more akin to a high fantasy. The current title for that one is "The Magic Door." It needs a lot more love than "The Creeps."