National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November. It is a challenge to yourself to write 50,000 words in the month. It is also a great community that is there to support you with reaching your daily word count and ending the month as a winner of NaNoWriMo. You can connect online or meet locals in your area for write-ins and support.
For me NaNo is kicking off this Friday at midnight with a write in. I did not make the write in last year because it was on Thursday and I have a job that expects me to show up and be safe and productive on Friday. This year after taking my kids trick or treating I will be heading to meet my local group and start my novel.
Last year was the first year I participated. Last year I learned that there are many, MANY people who actually plan out their whole novel. They have outlines, written scenes, character descriptions, plot and an ending. These people are called planners. Everyone I met in my local group were planners.
I found this approach amazing. Which is when I learned that I am a pantster. As in fly by the seat of my pants. Doing all that work before starting seems a bit like cheating. I sit down on November 1 and see where my muse takes me. I generally start with a character and as the characters start growing and rounding out they take the story to its conclusion.
I was talking with an author from my writing group today and I think I am going to re-write the first novel I wrote. I am amazed at how much my writing has improved since I started writing a couple of years ago. I think I may even write it from the first person perspective instead of third. Every time I edit the book I just fix some of the grammar but I think scrapping it and starting over will give me the novel I am hoping for. It has received praise so far and I like the characters and the story but I know it can be so much better.
My writing group friend asked if that was okay, using a work that has already been written? I am not going to edit the story. I am not even going to look at it again. I am going to use the characters and the plot. That is sort of like being a planner for this time out. I am still a pantster at heart.
Who out there is joining me in NaNoWriMo? Are you a planner or a pantster?