My NaNaWriMo Experiment
Initially I had some doubts about participating in this year's NaNoWriMo. Would I be able to do it again? Last year's story took a lot of preparation, and I basically had every small piece of it figured out months before I started writing it. I drew charts filled with all kinds of character data, gave each one of them a background, an origin story with childhood memories, a set of life experiences that explained how they became that person. And even though none of that was part of the actual storyline, it was for me to know, and to see them in my head as real persons, not stereotypes, who would act in a way that was consistent with who they were. I went for it and added trivia, such as body height, weight and hair color, even dental info and I thought about which actors would play them in a movie (knowing what they sound like helps me writing dialogue).
This year, I'm writing a prequel about the things that led up to last year's story. Some of last year's work still comes into play. But since I didn't have the time to prep for the other stuff, there is more freedom to explore what happens between crucial plot moments, and some of the new characters are developing as I write them. Some might say that that's not the way to do it. You need a plan, then write. I agree that having a plot outline isn't nearly enough. Although I like the process of winging it, some of what I write already turns out to be editor's food. I have no trouble filling those pages, but some of it lacks direction or amounts to drivel that could have been avoided. Certainly those unplanned moments can always lead to new ideas to explore for another story. And the fact that not everything is purposefully lined up is an awesome writing experience for me - if only to know that I'll never ever do it like this again. We'll see. It might very well be that on November 30th I'll end up with a lot of words, and none of them adding up to a viable story.