I took a bit of a hiatus with this blog last month in order to fully focus on Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). This is my first year participating in Nanowrimo, now that I’m done with school and have more mental space to focus on such an undertaking.
I must first establish that I did not follow the traditional rules of Nanowrimo, but rather used it as a means to accelerate my own personal goals with what I have going on. I made my own rules. I’m not sure if this is frowned upon, or practiced by others, but nonetheless it is a time of dedication and perseverance for any writer. My goal for November 2016 was to finish the third part (out of nine parts) of my novel, from wherever I was able to get to in October. To some, this may not count as participation, but in my circumstance it does parallel the conventional rules. In my story, one part is an entire lifetime, an entire short story. So although the words are few, there is a lot that takes place, a lot that needs to be planned and outlined, and a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration to ensure that I convey the message and create something that flows with adjoining lifetimes.
In addition to this, my novel is written in first person point of view. With first person point of view, there is an element of submersion that is often overlooked when calculating projected word counts that are appropriate given the amount of time put in. However, this is a discrepancy. Third person point of view is much easier to take on. The writer only has to tell the story from their God-like perspective, all high and mighty and full of confidence. But when writing first person narrative in fiction, there is a humbling amount of energy and mental resources that has to be put forth into experiencing first hand what it is that you’ve dreamt. It is the difference between getting into the water and swimming the laps, and watching someone from afar, describing the sore muscles and exhaustion. Another example is a commissioned painting. When you pay someone to paint something for you that requires design work, you are not just paying for the time it took for that person to sit down and physically complete the task. You’re paying for that three extra hours they took trying to determine what style, and additional elements they should add to it to make it whole.
This is something easily understood, and even perhaps well known, but I rarely see this come up on blogs or podcasts. Perhaps it is too obvious? Not worth going into detail? Either way, I find this very important to keep in mind so that I don’t inadvertently get bogged down with meeting low word count goals in comparison to others. As long as I spend a part of every single day advancing the story, that is an accomplishment to me. I am too busy making something real, so much so that I have no time to make something straightforward.
Let me just say that I am not saying anything negative towards third person narrative. If anything, I envy those who write in that framework and wish I was able to make life easier for myself in that way. However, if you are a fiction writer, especially of fantasy or scifi, who likes to write in first person, please take this message to heart. Do not ever feel badly about taking extra time to figure out the bigger picture, or minute details of what you’re writing. In the long run, it will only help the finished product, perhaps even pushing it past something that’s good to something that is extraordinary. You wont find out while trying to produce words for the mere sake of producing words.
If you participated in Nanowrimo this year or in past years, let me know what your experience was like.
Until next time…
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2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2016: Why Your Word Count May Not Be as Bad as It Seems”
“Advancing the story…” yep! That is key.
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I am incapable of writing any perspective outside of First person, and I’m incredibly daunted by NaNoWriMo this year, my first, so thanks for giving me the right to fall behind.
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