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The Five Things I Learned From NaNoWriMo

Friday, December 30th, 2011 by Carley

It has almost been a full month since November ended, and now that I am caught up on sleep and schoolwork, I feel like I can look back on NaNoWriMo with a (mostly) objective view.  I learned a million things this past November, both about writing and myself, but five things stood out.  Here they are, in no particular order.

1) Some parts of noveling are much easier than I expected.  Maybe it was because I was constantly writing.  Maybe it was because I felt the pressure of watching my bar graph increase on the NaNo website.  Maybe it was because I am a literary genius.  Though I seriously doubt that last one.  Whatever it was, writing my novel was easier than expected in some aspects.  I had, excluding one crazy weekend, enough time to get my writing done.  My parents were super supportive; they even went as far to give me an extension on my clean-your-room-or-face-our-eternal-wrath deadline so that I would be able to hit my word count.  Week Two, which so many people dread, was the easiest week I had.  All in all, noveling wasn’t awful.

2) Most parts of noveling are much harder than I expected.  I was angry with my characters, annoyed with my plot.  My friends didn’t understand why my moods went up and down so seemingly randomly.  (They figured out mid-November that my mood was dependent on how my story was progressing and then things made some more sense.)  About 15,000 words in, I verbally abused my main character to tell her that she had to stop whining and crying.  Essentially, she had to grow up.  Week Three was the hardest for me.  I was at my story’s climax and had no idea how to write the scene I so desperately needed.  And I refused to give up with almost 40,000 words already written.  I had no real social life.  My characters were my best friends and my computer was my lifeline.  When I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about my next scene.  All I could do was count the minutes and try not to think about how many words I could have been writing in that time.  As fun as it was, noveling was crazy difficult.

3) Having a completed manuscript is one of the most surreal things I have ever experienced.  I just printed out my first copy of my manuscript for editing.  Having it there in my hands, seeing my words on paper, knowing I wrote the entire thing—I almost didn’t believe it.  NaNo 2011 was the first National Novel Writing Month I have participated in and my NaNoNovel is the longest story I have ever completed.  Writing a novel seemed like something I would do when I was older.  Definitely not something I would do before my seventeenth birthday.  It’s weird and amazing for me to look at my manuscript and see what I have accomplished.

4) Talk too much or too little about your book and people lose interest.  Whenever I would go off on a rant about my book, my friends’ eyes either glazed over or they looked at me like I was crazy.  Sometimes it was a mixture of both.  As for talking too little, a few people who knew I was doing NaNo asked to read my book.  The thing is, I really don’t want them reading it.  But I’ve discovered that people only have so much time and energy to spare when the subject isn’t about them.  So if you want people to stop pestering you about reading what you’ve written, tell them they can read it as soon as it’s done…which could take months.  Years, even.  Yes, years, you tell them.  They can read it then.  Eventually, they’ll stop asking unless you bring it up.

5) Getting lost in someone else’s head is an awesome thing to do.  While I was writing, I didn’t have thoughts of my own until my fingers stopped moving.  I became the person I was writing.  Her problems were my problems, her failures were my failures, her pains were my pains.  I.  Was.  Her.  I was not the girl waiting for her college decisions, the girl who was putting off her math homework to write, the girl who had to make dinner in a matter of minutes but had to get to the end of the scene first.  I did not think about what I was writing, I simply wrote.  Though my fingers moved and I stared at words on a screen, what I was really doing was walking around town and talking to old friends and delivering babies.  I was baking pumpkin pie and getting into fights and saving the day.  It’s a great, scary feeling, knowing that you were someone else, just for a little while.


Anyway, this is what I learned.  You probably learned something totally different.  Or maybe you learned the same thing in a different way.  Or maybe you learned the same thing in the same way with different results.  Or the same results.  It doesn’t matter to me; I just hope you learned something.

Happy writing.



In Which We Cliche A Plot

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 by aquillpen

This was not an official PNT[Post NaNo Teen] thing, but none the less a bunch of people have been creating ‘Most cliched teen novel synopsis” on the official NaNo boards, including moi. You can read the thread HERE. For your viewing hilarity, here is the first bit that we’ve compiled. Ladies and Gents, ZEE AWWWW-FULL CLICHES!:

A girl is deeply troubled because she wants a cute guy to ask her to the dance.

She’s terrified he’ll reject her, causing her to have to move up to a cave in the Himalayas for the rest of her life, because he’s the most popular boy in school, and she’s definitely not the most popular girl.

The cave in the mountains is full of bald warrior monks in orange robes.

In the cave, she meets love interest number two, who is her polar opposite. They don’t get along at all, but need each other to survive.

They kiss accidentally, possibly after fighting a traitorous monk, and swear never to speak of it. But they both liked it and want to do it again. Cue angst.

They both separate for a while and they go off and angst. The boy tries to make the girl jealous and vice versa. They end up coming back together, apologizing, until love interest number 1 comes back into the picture. .

Her feelings for number 1 returns. Then number 2 finds out number 1 is really half vampire half succubus, and is deceiving her.

Number 2 hates that number 1 did that to her, and immediately challenges him to a fight, but doesn’t tell the girl about it.

The girl whines about how everyone loves her.

The girl finds out, and as soon as numbers 1 and 2 begins to fight, she stops them dramatically.

Lover number 1 dramatically kills Lover number 2. The girl finds out and angst about that for a while, leaving Lover number 1 to angst in his own corner.

The girl dramatically weeps over Lover 2’s lifeless body. As her tears drip down onto his face, they begin to glow. Lover 2 opens his eyes because her tears are magical.

Meanwhile, her 16th birthday is approaching and she MUST plan a lavish party for 300 guests.

As the girl is planning, she meets with a rather strange woman who informs her that the girl is part fairy. One half, to be exact. But the girl has been cursed so that she cannot use her powers. The only way to break the curse is TO FIND HER TRUE LOVE.

Yo, dudes.

Monday, December 12th, 2011 by aquillpen

We’re edgy, we’re funky…. and some times, we even do some homework. We’re the Post-National Novel Writing Month Teens. And we’re ready to rock our novels, all year round. Stay glued for fun advice, rants, and creative exercises, written by your fellow NaNo teens.