What NaNoWriMo Taught Me

This could be a huge post, but I’ll keep it moderately short, as my education via NaNoWriMo can be summed up in one sentence:

I can’t write a book in a month.

Now, there’s a few reasons. One is my style. I’m a slow writer without a doubt when it comes to large projects. I get excited, then work frantically, then lose interest, and then become absent for a while. Then the cycle starts anew. It’s probably the most important reason I’m not a professional writer – I’m not reliable when it comes to time constraints and deadlines for a story.

Next is my inherent inability to judge scope. What I mean by this, is that I constantly over or underestimate the size and scale of my projects when I start them out. One of the novels I’m working on started out as a poem. After two pages, I decided to make it a short story. Eighty pages later, I’ve decided I may as well give in and admit it’s a full-length novel. The Keeping of the Light is facing a similar dilemma: I keep telling myself it’s a one-off, but the truth is clear: the story is too big, and the lore is too complex. It’s almost definitely going to become a two or three-part series.

And then came Everwander, my NaNoWriMo project. I thought that writing a story in my pre-existing fantasy universe would speed things along and make me spend less time on lore and mechanics, but what happened is the exact opposite. Since stating Everwander, I’ve spent more time working out magic systems, languages, cultures and geographies than ever before. With TKOTL, I opened a can of worms. With this project, I’ve started dissecting the worms.

Needless to say, I’ve come nowhere close to finishing the project this month. NaNoWriMo has been an unsuccessful venture for me – but I won’t say that it’s been a complete failure. I’ve learned a very valuable thing from this experience: I can’t rush my writing.

As many times as I’ve impatiently waited for the release of a new novel or part of a series, I can honestly say now that I see why deadlines get pushed and wait times are underestimated. I started out the month planning to write at least 50,000 words, and ended up writing only 7,134 words. Also, I haven’t written so much as a chapter title since the 6th of November. My stories are going to take their time, whether I want to or not.

So I may as well take my time and do it right. The book will be finished, but who can say when. When it is, I’ll let you know. Until then, keep looking for new chapters posted here. Thanks for reading, and happy writing. Cheers.

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A NaNoWriMo Update (novel announcement)

evrwndr-565x800It’s less than a week away, so I’ve decided to do some prepping. Very little, but it counts for something.

You can now find me on nanowrimo.org – my profile name is kdanielsauthor. If you are participating, feel free to add me as a writing buddy, or not! Whatever works in your favor. I’ve also announced my project – a fantasy adventure novel called… here it comes…

“Everwander”

I know! Basque in the glory of it’s over-the-top-cheesy-fantasyness. I’ve also decided on another thing, which, despite being very cool to me, won’t really affect the outcome of the story, although it may affect some of the content.

I’ve decided that Everwander will take place in the same universe as The Keeping of the Light (my current fantasy novel project). I’m doing this for three┬áreasons: (1) It will allow me to show off parts of the universe which are not covered in TKOTL, including bits of magic and cultures that don’t get a lot of time in that novel, (2) I can explore other areas of the universe that have existed in my mind for years, but TKOTL doesn’t venture into, and (3) I can create a story mostly from scratch, without having to spend the first three weeks worldbuilding.

It may seem like a cop-out, or a cheat… and that’s because it kind of is. I only have a month to do this, and if I want to manage to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month I need to spend the least amount of time creating new concepts as possible. But, fear not. This story has virtually zero overlap with TKOTL. Everwander takes place about sixty years before the beginning of TKOTL, and in a different region of the world – a country west of Lhor. So in short – somewhat familiar ground, but in an unfamiliar context. This is probably evident in my rambling on, but I’m rather excited to get started. Happy writing.