It’s the morning of Day Six, and at last night’s write-in, I made it to the 10k club, putting me one day ahead of schedule! (Or at least, I was before midnight.)
By Day Three, I was struggling a little bit with trying to fill in the historical gaps – not to mention that after the dream sequence I had started off with, things had become slightly boring. On the morning of Day Four, however, I started getting into my stride and was able to properly utilise the historical details I’m already familiar with. Unfortunately, at that point I had to go to work, which really broke my rhythm – when I got back home and sat down at the laptop again, it took a moment to get back into it.
Day Five played out in a similar way, except that I was doing the evening work at our write-in. This proved to be very productive – after all, apart from chatting with your fellow NaNoers, there’s nothing to distract you from writing. I spent much of the time writing about what I remembered about Lyme Regis, and now currently stand at 10,013 words before doing any writing today.
Have been reflecting a little on the “quantity, not quality” practice of NaNoWriMo. As I churn out the words as quickly as possible, I’m well aware of the fact that what I’m producing isn’t very good – but done this for so long now, I’m not really bothered by the Inner Editor. What does bother me is the fact that should I decide to edit and publish the story when it’s finished, only a fraction of the original would remain – I’d have to rewrite almost all of it. Isn’t that ultimately just as much work – if not more – as writing at a steadier pace with higher quality that might mean less extensive editing?
My answer to this is that, besides the fun of the challenge, I think NaNoWriMo is a good opportunity for experimentation. It’s one thing to think of a story, and even write an outline for it. But it’s only when the story actually exists on paper that you can properly scrutinise it and determine what works and what doesn’t work – and NaNoWriMo allows you to create the story for such examination at a relatively fast pace. When I wrote my practice NaNoWriMo in 2009, it had a long list of problems. I ended up re-writing it for Camp NaNoWriMo 2013, changing many elements – that story also had many problems, but much of it still worked better than the original. The next version – if and when I get round to doing it – will hopefully work better still.
So however much work it may take in the future to make your rapidly-written story readable, even if it means completely re-doing it, the initial writing is definitely not a waste of time if you learn something from it.