I Was a NaNoWriMo Virgin

So, there I was: browsing through some forum, when I came across someone’s post mentioning she was going to try to win NaNoWriMo this November. “What on earth is NaNoWriMo,” I wondered, and promptly Googled it. “NaNoWriMo,” it turns out, is short for “National Novel Writing Month.” Cool, thought I, let’s do it. (But definitely *without* saying things like “thought I.”)

So I got the ol’ fire burning, imagined my six-figure advance for inspiration, did a little browsing on the NaNoWriMo website, and found out I am a “pantser.” No, I don’t run around pulling people’s pants down, as my husband was quick to ask when I told him this. A “pantser,” is someone who dives into the project that is NaNoWriMo and writes by the seat of their pants, as opposed to a “planner,” which is pretty self-explanatory. This is pretty unusual for me: I plan nearly everything. I get upset with my husband when he runs to the grocery store without a meal plan and a list. To be plan-less is inefficient!

Ahh.. but I can report, one day into NaNoWriMo, that being plan-less has been freeing. I took great care to *avoid* reading up on how to plot/outline my novel. (Also entirely unlike me to not try to educate myself on a process before diving in.) By George, I think I’m becoming a little more self-aware: I know quite well how an “education” serves me. I use it as a yardstick with which to alternately judge and beat myself.

Being a “pantser” has allowed me to do something crazy: when my ideas for a scene have run their course, I end the sentence, insert a line, and start a new, seemingly unrelated, scene. That happened a few times today, and I can honestly say I’m not worried about it. Without a plot or an outline, I don’t know where I’m going. I’ve got a few characters that popped into my mind when I started, some natural courses of events took place, I have absolutely no idea why certain things are happening, and I’m not worried at all!

The only “plan” I have is to stick to the recommended 1,667 words per day. That’s apparently how you “win” NaNoWriMo: by writing 50,000 words during the month of November. I have to say, my 1,762 came relatively easily today. I’m approaching this like I’ve read one should approach foot races: don’t go too fast out the gate or you’ll be hurting for it later. I wrote enough words today; I ended on something of a cliffhanger so I have something to pick up and run with tomorrow. I did write down the questions that have come to mind, though – such as whether a character I introduced today is male, female, or even human. I trust that character will let me know somewhere down the line, though.

How about you? Have you or are you doing NaNoWriMo? Let me know how it’s going in the comments!



About CZ Wright

Writer | Gamer | Musician | Podcaster | Fantasy and sci-fi geek extraordinaire
This entry was posted in NaNoWriMo, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to I Was a NaNoWriMo Virgin

  1. I normally don’t bother planning, but this year I decided I would and then in the first 300 words I’d completely gone off-plan and I had a new character who was eclipsing old characters but works a heck of a lot better than some people who shall not be names since I might what to recycle their names later on. But 2,377 words so far. Yay.

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  9. Grace Miel says:

    I wrote 1,100 words prior to Nov 1 (don’t worry, I’m not including those in the word count) and scribbled a few notes about supporting characters (e.g. their existence, nothing that helpful). Other than that, winging it! It’s easy to look at all the character development and plot outline sheets and freak out that you’re completely unprepared… but it’s nice to see that other people are just letting the story happen naturally!

    • CZ Wright says:

      That’s the goal, at least! I’ve found myself doing some planning on the side – I’m trying to avoid feeling like I’m cheating on my previous plans to avoid planning. 🙂
      Good luck!

  10. mevsmomjeans says:

    I’m a pantser as well and making my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, so far it’s interesting. Good luck this month, I wish you lots of inspiration and coffee!

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