Every year I start, only twice have I finished. I've definitely developed a love/hate relationship with National Novel Writing Month.
That 50k mark wasn't the end of the book, however, and I've continued to chip away at in since. In fact, I am planning to have the final edits finished this week and might just see its release (in ebook, anyway) before the end of 2012. I have never worked on a manuscript this long, put so much effort into a single story, and felt so close to the characters until this project, and I have NaNoWriMo to thank for its totally unplanned beginnings.
My second attempt was 2008, if you could even call it an attempt. I decided to do some advance plotting on notecards, think about the story arc long and hard before diving in, and to just be generally more "prepared" than I had been the year before.
That's where I went wrong.
All of that thinking and planning allowed me to get far too invested in the story before it even began. When I sat down and cranked out words the first day of November, I couldn't approach them with reckless abandon like I had previously. I quit on day two.
In 2009, I was far too busy to think about setting aside an hour a day to try and squeeze out even a mediocre story. I didn't write that year, but I followed NaNo blogs and found I was terribly disappointed that I didn't even try.
My third attempt in 2010 should have been an easy one. I had learned some lessons during my previous trials that were very helpful, but my story sucked. Hard.
You'd think that a terrible story would be a perfect fit for a month of writing where word count is the ultimate goal, but you'd be wrong. If there's no spark in there, there's no motivation to keep going. I hated every minute of it, but I finished.
On December 3rd, I trashed the manuscript.
I was apprehensive about trying again in 2011, especially after the sting of 2010, and rationalized it that I would at least start and see where I got. I got as far as 1500 words before schedule changes, book promotions, and unexpected travel threw a monkey wrench into that project. It worked out for the best - that story sucked, too.
Ah, 2012. Where did I go wrong? Falling in love with the story - as simple as that.
It's funny how it happened... I was at a loss for where to begin, so I turned to the Plot Machine for a bit of prompting. What I got was the Holy Grail of goofball buddy comedies, and I quickly had characters formed in my head and a story arc fused to my frontal lobe.
Then my brain started imagining the story as a film. *sigh*
The project got two days into November before I decided I had to dedicate more than a month to making sure it evolved the way I knew it could - as a screenplay. That's one of the things I'm working on right now in bits and pieces, so I can't say that I've totally "lost" this year's attempt at National Novel Writing Month, even though the story won't be a novel.
Misery loves company, but I love cheering on progress even more. So, let's hear it from you:
Did you try NaNoWriMo this year? Where did it take you?
PS - I'll be trying Script Frenzy in April. Who's in?