I was really excited about NaNoWriMo this year. I had my project all laid out, characters I was eager to meet, a story I was eager to tell. It’s the first time I’ve written anything new since, well, last NaNo, so that alone had me biting at the bit to get started.
I reached the 50k target on November 16, but just because the word count was reached didn’t mean I was done. On Friday morning, I wrapped up the first book of my new urban fantasy series, Obscure and jumped right into book 2, Oblivious.
The characters are just as fun as I hoped they’d be. Jet is sharp and made of brute force, while Madison is far more subtle and diplomatic. And Gideon, well, he’s just made of muscle and wit with a pretty high sneak skill.
I see myself spending a lot of time with these three over the next couple of years as I work through revisions and edits, peeling back the layers to learn all their deepest darkest secrets. Some people might think you need to know all that before you write your first words, but in my world, characters lie. They’ll give you the sneak peek in the outline, but it’s only during revisions that you really learn who they are.
It’s why I love revising. The first draft is fun, it’s frustrating—it can be so disheartening and discouraging when you hit The Wall—but revision is where the fun really starts. I, the author, might know why my characters make the decisions they do, but it’s only during revisions that their motivations can really shine. It’s when all the clues to the mystery and the faces of the villains are brought forward, when themes are polished and consistency is checked.
Revisions have a nasty reputation sometimes because of the time and effort they take, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Did you participate in NaNo this year? Are you coming up on the end of your draft and nervous about what comes next?
Don’t be! The support and encouragement that goes around during November doesn’t end just because the challenge does. Seek out your fellow writers and work with them to form some accountability for yourself. Set your goals, break them down into nice bite-sized chunks, and work them through one at a time. Stuck? Bounce your ideas around, either on paper or with a writing buddy. Despite the author reputation, very few of us work in a vacuum, so don’t feel isolated or overwhelmed because you’re caught in a corner with no way for your characters to get out.
Join me on the polishing quest to greatness!
How did you do with NaNo this year? How close are you to the end of your draft? How happy are you with the final result? Let me know below!