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Beyond Nanowrimo 2010

November 29, 2010

At around lunchtime yesterday I won Nanowrimo! It’s been a really tough month for me and I haven’t written any more than 2,500 words on any one day. But I’ve kept at it, chipping away, a hundred words here, a hundred words there. The wordcount has increased, slowly and steadily, adding up to the magic 50K.


I think Nanowrimo is a magnificently bonkers idea and one that I wholeheartedly support. It’s a 30-day rollercoaster of writing, writing, writing surrounded by likeminded people all over the world. Nanowrimoers laugh together, cry together and cheer each other on to the finish line. (And for all those who haven’t quite got to the finishing line: you’ve got time yet and you can do it! Go for it!).

Nanowrimo gives you the best possible kickstart to writing a novel. But for me it is only the beginning. Now the hard work begins.

As of now I have 50,000 words of disparate scenes, dialogue and ideas. Now I have to turn those into a novel.

First of all I have to finish generating the raw material of the story; finishing storylines, bringing every character to their destination and concluding the plot. I would like to produce another 50,000 words. That’ll give me a nice, big block ‘stuff’ from which to carve a novel.

Once that’s done the rough shape needs to be found. I’ll be moving scenes around, banishing all the ‘telling’ placeholders with fully-realised ‘showing’ until I have something with a beginning, middle and end.

Next up is the fiddly, twiddly stuff: checking internal logic, names, places and so on. As this novel is a sequel to Primortia I’ll be revisiting my final manuscript for the first book and checking for consistency.

And finally, perhaps the longest stage of all: editing and polishing.

I’ll be taking a break from the manuscript for a little while, and when I think it’s had time to ‘bed in’ I’ll come back to it, continuing to build my worlds and tell the stories I want so much to tell.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Michele permalink
    November 29, 2010 2:27 pm

    Congratulations on finishing it.

    I’ve no idea how anyone can possibly write in such a pell-mell manner, but I know I’m in a tiny minority on that score, so I’ll say no more.

    • November 30, 2010 2:45 pm

      Congratulations on finishing it.

      Thank you!

      Oh, it’s not finished by a long chalk! Even when the first draft is finished I’ll be looking at a lot of redrafting and editing. I went through nearly 20 drafts of Primortia and, whilst I’m confident I won’t need nearly as many the second time around, I’ll still be working on this book for months to come.

      • Michele permalink
        November 30, 2010 5:18 pm

        I *meant* congratulations on finishing NaNoWriMo.

        Clearly I should quit writing since I fail at making myself clear.

      • Sarah O'Donoghue permalink*
        December 2, 2010 10:57 am

        That’s okay, and thank you!

  2. November 30, 2010 3:09 pm

    “I think Nanowrimo is a magnificently bonkers idea and one that I wholeheartedly support.” Ha! I love it! Your summary jives with my understanding of it as well!! Congratulations for finishing, for “winning”, for writing.

    • Sarah O'Donoghue permalink*
      December 2, 2010 10:56 am

      Thank you, Matthew! I still have a long way to go with this novel but the journey will be interesting.

      We need more magnificently bonkers stuff in all our lives!

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