This is my second year doing Nano. Thing's are very different this time around -- I've grown, I think, as a would-be writer.
Last year, I decided to participate about ten days before it started. I had no idea what I would write about, and had none of the basic education (do's and dont's) that could have mitigated a lot of problems. What I ended up writing was fun and sweet romantic comedy -- and not what I would call a novel. Other than finishing the process, my underlying goal was to write good dialog, and I think I achieved that. But what I had in my hands was a 50,008 word "novel" that was quite simple, plot-wise.
This project was really just a tease, and what I learned was that I enjoyed writing, a lot. My former life as a game designer had been given up for a more stable (read: boring) career in 2005, and what I realized during Nano07 was that I really missed having a creative outlet.
It led me to try ScriptFrenzy in April, and this went very well. I teamed up with a good friend of mine, J.S. McClellan, and we wrote a very fun comedy called Joystick. It's currently gestating, and we're planning on working together again in April on a new idea (a thriller, this time).
My wife's comment after reading the Nano07 novel was that it would be better as a screenplay, so I took that to heart and converted it in August. It was nice to get a chance to re-write that, while doing so in a format that was more condusive to the character heavy, simply plotted nature of it. I'm happy with the result, but I know it needs a second draft before I try to do anything serious with it.
That leads me to Nano08. This time around I decided to challenge myself in two ways. One, I wanted to dive into the genre I love to read, Science Fiction. My project last year was in a modern setting, in the town I live in. So, now I have the daunting task of creating a believeable world to put my characters and story in.
Second, I wanted to spend a lot of time up front, planning. My planning in 07 consisted of a bullet-point outline consisting of 10 "scenes", which only turned out to be enough for 25k words, and a list of characters. This year, I used a mind-mapping tool to generate an outline that was highly detailed.
I'm now eleven days into the effort, and it's been a mixed bag so far. What I'm finding is that I'm very pleased with the story I am telling, but I feel like my writing quality is not very high. I think because things were so simple in last year's story, I had more time to think about the words. This year, I have way more things to keep track of in my head and I feel like I'm just pounding the words out. Last year, I never really had a moment where I felt strongly that some portion would need to be re-written, but this year I've already marked several sections for future complete re-writes.
That's all for now. I'll post again when I'm closer to the finish line.