NaNoWriMo 2009: Fun With Words

As NaNo draws to a close, our heroine saw wrimos put in extraordinary efforts the last few days, dear Reader. Incredible daily totals! Surely beyond what each person guessed could be done. Congratulations to all of you.

This is a link to a guest post from Michael Geffner‘s blog, Mike’s Writing Workshop and Newsletter. He kindly published an article I wrote about NaNoWriMo called The Shiny NaNo Secret. Whether you finished the 50k, but especially if you did not, I urge you to read it. I won’t go nuts on you here with my soapbox. Please, take a look and let me know what you think here in the comments?

As some of you know, I used the Fast Drafting method which Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life (which is due out in June 2010!), described in an interview written in the Friday Forum: Plotting article. That meant I wrote a huge 5k per day, day in and day out. Those of you who put in massive efforts near the end to make your 50k know that’s not undoable. The day in and day out part is rough, though. I kept up the Fast Drafting beyond the 50k up until the rough draft was complete.

I learned to STOP after I realized I hit 5k. Sure, the enthusiasm was there, the drive and motivation were keen. I came to understand that going beyond that point made me less inclined to pick up the keyboard the next day. I encourage you to learn the total you can maintain daily and work with that. Writing daily is what it’s all about. Maintain your daily total or you’ll burn out and walk away.

I learned to STOP in mid-scene so that when I sat down to the manuscript I had built-in momentum. A new technique to me, it proved to be excellent at kick-starting the old gray cells while coffee was still being taken in. (Yes, I know, coffee is always being taken in. Pick a point and get to it.) This is not a technique that works for everyone. I’ve heard some say when they do that, they can’t find the rhythm they were in while they were writing that scene. Fair enough. The point is to be open to finding the techniques that work for you. The first time I heard the “mid-scene technique” mentioned, I scoffed. It stayed in the old noodle, so eventually I gave it a shot.

I strongly encourage you to finish your NaNo manuscript. My 2008 NaNo is gathering dust. I plan to shake said dust off it and finish it during breaks from editing my series in 2010. Finish it, edit it, polish it until it shines. Take the time that it deserves to turn it into the best novel it can be. (Unless it’s an homage to plot bunnies.) Remember, December is not NaNoSubMo — do not submit your NaNo until it is ready to go. Save yourself and the literary agents (and their interns) the trouble, please.

I hope you had a great time with your NaNo experience. It’s supposed to be fun. Words and more words, I just can’t get enough of them. Hopefully, you feel the same way and have been left with the joy of writing as regularly as possible. I look forward to reading your novels.


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4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2009: Fun With Words

  1. Shannon Delany/Saoirse Redgrave November 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm Reply

    Glad the fast draft technique worked for you, Jess–talk about baptism by fire! 😉 And not only did you make your goal (and exceed NaNo standards) but it sounds like you learned a lot about how to keep writing (the mid-scene stop is a great way to mentally ready for writing the next day).

    Very proud of all you’ve accomplished! And definitely dust off your ’08 NaNo–imagine applying all you’ve learned in the course of the year to it as you wait to review your ’09!

    And I’m glad we’re giving the same advice to NaNo-ers about submitting too soon. Hopefully there will be less headaches, tears and rejection as a result!

    Take care,


    • Jessica Rosen November 30, 2009 at 9:27 pm Reply

      The Fast Draft Method was both dread and delight, depending on the time of day. I’m grateful to you for teaching me how to approach it. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. I have learned a great deal, not just during NaNo, but over the last year. I’m ready to take on rewriting the three books of my series. I plan to take breaks from editing to rewrite NaNo 2008. After all, a writer cannot live on edits alone. She must have New Words.

      So excited for you about _13 to Life_ and your upcoming release date!

      Take good care,


  2. Jaime Theler December 1, 2009 at 4:35 pm Reply

    NaNo was a great learning experience for me, too. And now I’m a true convert to the importance of writing day in and day out. I’ll have to try the stopping in mid-scene method and see how it goes. My goal is to finish the rough draft this week while I still have some momentum. Thanks for all your encouragement over the month!


    • Jessica Rosen December 1, 2009 at 8:04 pm Reply

      Terrific goal! It’s a good idea to stick with it and finish that rough draft. Too long away from it and you can lose not only your momentum but your voice as well.

      You won the Shiny NaNo Prize by learning the importance of writing every day if possible. I just said to my son that he should write daily, if only fifteen minutes a day. It brings great progress not only in a novel but in the quality of writing. I’m excited for you that you have picked that up. If something I said on the way was helpful, that’s great. Glad to hear that, thank you.

      Take care,
      Jessica Rosen


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