So, last time on NaNoWriMo: a Retrospective, I split my time between a silly romance, and a gritty hist fant.
2013 – Philomena
Or, an Unexpected Story
2013 was a big year for me. For the first five months I nearly killed myself at work trying to push through a major reform. Then I had a few silly, quiet months “on the beach” (i.e. at work, but doing more relaxing admin-based work). Then in September I picked up my life and executed a major intercontinental move from Australia to the UK and started a demanding MSc in Political Economy at one of those universities that tends to get mentioned in movies.
And in the midst of this was NaNoWriMo. I wasn’t going to do it, but then the site reset, and I went to see what new features there were, and I updated my location and checked out the forums, and then there was the Kick Off Party, and somehow on November 1st I found myself doing NaNoWriMo.
Again, I sort of intended to write my webserial A Frequent Traveller’s Guide to Jovan for NaNo, and again I ended up doing something different. I picked up one of the more interesting untied threads from Jovan, which was the story of Philomena, the girl who had been an orphan, then a maid, then the bastard child of a royal, and then, though the machinations of politics, became a noble lady betrothed to a prince. This threw up some interesting conundrums for poor Philomena, which I had always thought it might be interesting to explore. So I did, and you can read it on Wattpad (it’s written to be independent of the Jovan serial; all relevant details included, all irrelevant details omitted :D).
NaNoWriMo was a hard slog. Probably the hardest slog since the first time I did it. Taking my attention off public good problems and social choice theory (and long, angry rants about neoliberalism) to write fiction was really difficult. I made it to almost no write-ins or socials, and halfway through the month I missed a day, and it took me the entire rest of the month to catch up, basically 100 words at a time. But I got there in the end, and crawled over the finish line, bloodied but unbowed.
I also had to do a lot of plotting on the fly: more than usual, because I hadn’t firmly decided to participate until a few days before the beginning of November. As a consequence I kept stalling while I figured out the implications of plot points, and in the post-NaNo editing there has been a lot of cleaning up required to make everything run in the same direction.
So my lesson for 2013? Hm.
You are doing NaNoWriMo, even if you think you’re not. So you might as well accept it and plan properly for it in October!
Also, surprisingly, my experience suggests it’s more difficult to balance NaNo with study than with work, but I may be atypical there…
Next time on NaNoWriMo: a
RetroProspective — I am probably going to use 2014 to rewrite Halfblood. Again. 😀