Thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2010

So I have this thing about first drafts.

I LOVE THEM.

I love brainstorming and outlining them. I love writing them. I wish I could write first drafts every single month of the year!!! They’re so SHINY! So INSPIRING! So EXCITING!

The only problem being first drafts aren’t perfect. They need revising. And revising takes a lot of effort, and isn’t as much fun, and is really really HARD.

After a while, those first drafts really start to pile up.

Let’s review.


Summer 2005:
I discover the existence of NaNoWriMo, and am inspired to push through to the end of a floundering draft and actually FINISH my very first full-length novel, On Journeys Bound.

NaNo 2005:
I discover that it is possible to write an entire first draft in a month, and complete my very first fantasy novel, The Rose Queen.

Spring/Summer 2006:
I wrestle with revisions of The Rose Queen, and manage to wring out a second draft. I also start Draft 2 of On Journeys Bound somewhere in there.

NaNo 2006:
I discover that it is possible to write 100k in a month, and complete Draft 1 of The Whale and the Tree.

Spring/Summer 2007:
Third draft of Rose Queen, more work on Journeys, and possibly a bit on Whale. 

NaNo 2007:
I discover that I have Very Big Ideas, and write only half of the 209k tome later to become Draft 1 of The Fire in the Glass.

Summer 2008:
Second draft of Whale.

NaNo 2008:
I don’t really discover anything groundbreaking, but I do write over half of the 190k tome later to become Draft 1 of The Silver Crane.

Summer 2009:
Attempt at revising Fire. More revision on Whale. Queries sent out. A pitiful attempt at another revision of Rose Queen. A bit done on Journeys. First draft of a not-all-that-short-story (18k), Seraphine.

NaNo 2009:
I discover that sometimes my ideas are not as great as I thought, and write 40k of the as-yet-unfinished The Last Garden, and 50k of the as-yet-unfinished The Blind King, which is a sequel to On Journeys Bound.

Spring 2010:
First draft of Seer, completed early March. Revisions commencing a few weeks later. Much procrastination.

Summer/Fall 2010:
Still floundering in revisions for Seer, poking at Journeys ’cause it won’t leave me alone.

Which brings me to some Stats:

Completed first drafts—6
Completed revisions—2, (but they’re not REALLY completed—both Rose Queen and Whale need re-drafting. Again.)
Revisions in progress—2 (though Journeys is more a rewrite than a revision)
Incomplete drafts—2
Unrevised novels—2

All that to say, and the data is pretty clear—I have yet to successfully figure out HOW TO REVISE. Or at least how to FINISH a revision. Kind of frustrating.

Which leads me to my point (I do actually have one):
I don’t think I have any business starting a Brand New Novel for NaNo when I have SO many more projects to work on that I feel are more important to furthering the Hope of being able to hop back on the submission wagon again sometime this century. I know I can write a book in a month—it’s super fun and I adore doing it, but I need to prove to myself that I can FINISH a revision, not just a first draft, which leads me to the conclusion that I should sit out NaNoWriMo this year. 😦 😦 😦 😦

HOWEVER.

If I finish my second draft of Seer by the end of October, I have decided to issue myself the following challenge (reward??) :

To write the second half of On Journeys Bound AND the second half of The Blind King during the month of November, thereby joining the frenzy that is NaNo (albeit as a self-declared rebel), and finishing two projects I’ve been meaning to get to for YEARS.

And those are my long, rambling, and conflicting thoughts on participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

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