Monday, July 9, 2018

The Truth About my NaNoWriMo Novel

We are just over a week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and I am right on track. I have almost 15,000 words, but, the truth is, I don't like what I've written. I don't like my plot and I don't like my characters.

My original plot for this Camp NaNo centered on Varina: her father has been murdered and she wants to find out whodunnit. As she searches for clues, she meets Daniel, a wannabe pianist held back by controlling parents. I was scared about this because I have always written plot-driven novels, and this idea didn't seem like it could support 50,000 words of story unless it was a thriller, which I didn't want to write.

I decided to make the story character-driven and hoped that the plot would follow. But then I had an idea in the shower... and my novel changed into a plot-driven, magical realism complete with Bigfoots and an intricate plot. A week later, I am kicking myself for letting familiarity woo me away from trying something new. I'm also not sure I like the magical realism twist. Daniel and Varina's characters are meant to be in the real world, I think.

I did extensive character profiles on Daniel and Varina before I started to write, but they are not coming off like I had hoped. Daniel is needy and privileged, but he lacks the charisma that is supposed to draw Varina and readers (and me!) to him. Varina is supposed to be angry and logical, but she is not supposed to have a compassion deficiency! I don't like either of them, which means that you won't either. They don't like each other either, which is problem if they are to become best friends later.

I'm also not sure who is supposed to be telling this story. I started by alternating between Daniel and Varina's point-of-view, but something was off, so I tried doing first person from Daniel's perspective. I haven't written much in first person, so I quickly reverted to third person without realizing it. This was the second new thing I tried that didn't work because I didn't put in the effort of trying something new.
A wise woman once said, "Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!" but I don't like any of those things, so I stay where it's familiar and safe. Several areas of my life are impacted by this, but my creativity suffers the most.
Which is why I've decided to start Camp NaNorWriMo over. I am ditching the magical Bigfoots and going back to my original idea. I am going to write in first person from Varina's point-of-view. I am also going to keep the 15,000 words that I've already written.

Oh, and guess what? My Camp NaNoWriMo novel does not have a title! I know, I know, you are all shocked, but perhaps you can understand that not every novel I write can have such a brilliant title as "Unnamed Fantasy Novel." That title took all of my creativity so that, four years later, I still can't come up with anything as clever.

Let's get a conversation started in the comments! Do you tend to write all of your stories in the same style? Do you think there is benefit to trying different styles? Am I insane for starting this story over again?


  1. Thanks for your honesty! I think part of the problem might have to do with lack of creative writing during the school year: you are out of practice! I am thrilled when you try new things! (Next time we go to Bahama Breeze--no chicken quesadilla for you) You will grow as writer when you experiment with style, genre, voice, etc, so GO FOR IT! Start the story again, you certainly have the time.

    1. Everything you said is true (except the quesadilla thing)! Thanks for the support.

  2. I don't think you're insane for starting your story over again, because I do the same thing. XD I go back and forth between different ideas, and then it's such long gaps between when I work on it and when I work on a different project, that I come back to it with all new ideas that I feel would work so much better. Or I just flat out don't like what my past self has written, so I feel like I have to rewrite the whole thing. So totally don't feel bad about starting over. I get it. :D

    1. Heehee, I am glad I am not the only one! Isn't it crazy how much a story can change after you let it sit for several weeks/months/years? I am always astounded at how our subconsciousness works on story ideas without us even realizing it.

  3. Hey, I just decided to drop my current NaNo and pick up a different one, so... Yeah.