Allie here, thanking all five of our readers for their patience with our brief absence.
It is my fault. It's not Tina's. I want to be clear about that.
It was a difficult NaNoWriMo this year. I had my outline set up, I did all of my ahead-of-time work to make sure that it would go as smoothly as possible. And yet, oddly enough, it did not.
Just a little bit of background here: I've participated in three NaNoWriMos and completed two of them, so this wasn't a new experience for me. It should have been, as they say, old hat.
Buuuuuut a few things were different.
First of all, I'm in college, and November happens to fall during the second half of fall quarter. Just a week or so before finals. So in addition to having to split my time with work, I had to split it with studies.
Also, I came down with the flu this year, and then succumbed to bronchitis, from which I am still recovering, making it a total of three weeks or so sick.
Tina and I had a reading during November that we had to not just attend, but also organize. The reading went very well, I thought, despite my being sick at the time.
The biggest stumbling block I had, though, was that I was working on a different project before NaNoWriMo, and switching gears in the middle to work on my NaNo project was complicated and took a lot of effort. I was just so set on the first project, so in love with it, that scraping out word count for those first few days was almost impossible.
The outline was different also, but in a good way. I'm typically a pantser, preferring not to outline, or as I think of it, writing a very complete and thorough outline in the form of a rough draft. I did an outline for this one, because NaNoWriMo is nothing if not an exercise in speed drafting, and everyone says that you need an outline for speed drafting.
Improving the speed of my first drafts is a goal that I'd like to focus on.
I think the outline did make me faster. Pantsing involves a lot of drinking beer in the bathtub until the water gets all cold, trying to come up with the next scene and figure out specifically what it needs to do before you sit down to write. An outline is supposed to prevent that and allow you to get to work and keep working until you've hit your quota for the day. For me, whenever I was stuck, I'd just refer to the outline and write a scene from it.
Sometimes these scenes no longer made sense and required some alteration in order to fit in with what I'd already written, but with the goals of the scenes clear, rewriting them on the fly wasn't too much trouble. And if it has to be cut in revision, oh well. There are times when you have to cut in revision, even for novels not written during NaNoWriMo.
The book I ended up with is going to need a lot of polish and a lot of love, and it's not even finished. I still have about twenty or thirty thousand words more to write on the first draft. After November 30th, I went right back to working on my prior project, which is now nearing completion. But that's neither here nor there. The important thing is that I wrote the first fifty thousand words to a new novel, I got through this year's NaNoWriMo, and with a little effort I hope to have a book ready for release in mid 2016. I learned a lot about speed drafting and outlining and structure. And despite all the pain and drama, I had a lot of fun.