NaNoWriMo-Ch-Ch-Changes (via

Just a quick one today. A lot of you are working on your National Novel Writing Month projects, and I thought I’d share one of our regular commenters’ blog posts on her experience:

I now recognize a pattern that comes up every year — the point where I finish writing a scene and have no idea where to go next. If I could develop and follow a rigid outline this wouldn’t happen. If I could develop and follow a rigid outline, I could probably be writing best-sellers. But I can’t. Notes to the rescue. What I wind up doing — once I’m finished panicking — is go through my notes, a lot of which ask questions about aspects of the story. And I pick something, more or less arbitrarily. It has to follow logically what just went before, but it’s only one of several possible choices. Arbitrary. And being arbitrary, I don’t know where it’s going to take me.

I’m like this too: I’m bad at outlining my plot; I enjoy watching where a story takes me. That can be fun for me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I produce a fun story for the readers.

Read it in full here:


5 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo-Ch-Ch-Changes (via

  1. No question. I’ve heard that some agents shut down their offices right after NaNo. But the event can’t be held responsible for everyone’s actions. There are plenty of warnings, within NaNo and elsewhere, but the stupid are ever with us.

  2. Thanks for the ping, Tom. That was two days ago. Today, after a night of wondering what the heck I’m doing, “arbitrary” is beginning to look like the only way I’m going to get through NaNo this year. The original idea for the novel has metastasized until I don’t recognize it anymore. I’m not sure whether NaNo is the best time or the worst time to be working out a new direction in my writing, but that’s where I seem to be stuck. But writing this comment has triggered something. I was seriously thinking about dropping NaNo because the novel is already such a mess. Instead, I’m going to use that messiness and just explore what I can do with it. It will probably result in the worst first draft I’ve ever written, and I may not get to 50,000 words, but I’ve always regarded NaNo as an opportunity to learn something new. Thanks for being a catalyst.

    • I’m glad I could help! I’ve always thought NaNo wouldn’t work for me because I don’t like to barge through and write just to get words on a page, but you’ve convinced me that I should give it a go (next year, when I won’t have to do Literarium programming every night).

      On 08/11/2012, at 12:30 AM, Literarium – The Blog

      • The idea that NaNo’s just for turning out a load of crap as fast as you can is one meme that really needs to die. NaNo has been incredibly useful for me. I write year round, but there’s something about the pressure to focus on just one project that triggers important insights. It probably doesn’t work that way for very many people, but it’s a great tool if you accept that there isn’t just one way to use it.

      • Yes, agreed. I think though (hearing from my handful of publishing acquaintances) that too many writers take their NaNo output and dump it into the unsolicited submissions pile at publishing houses post-November. That’s a different problem, I guess.

        On 08/11/2012, at 7:00 AM, Literarium – The Blog

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