The Ghost of NaNos Past

The Ghost of NaNos Past

As we approach the NaNoWriMo season (*sound of panicking in the background*), I thought it would be fun to look back at the last six years of NaNos, ever since I started.

It’s amazing how different they’ve all been! Ups and downs… And each year I step deeper down the rabbit trail as it were. 😉

(I did also do 4 Camp NaNo sessions — a 20K goal and three 10K goals, all of which I reached — but for the sake of continuity I’ll be ignoring those this post. XD They are, however, little footnotes in my NaNo history, so maybe someday I’ll do a post about them! But 6 + 4 = 10 times I’ve participated in (and won) a NaNo-ish event! *celebration*)

Here are my NaNo experiences . . .

NaNo #1: 2010 — The Chaos Year

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(Since I didn’t join the NaNo site my first year, I don’t have a handy graph from the site of my wordcount, so this one will have to do. Blue bars = where my wordcounts should have been to be on par. White bars = where my wordcounts actually were.)

Twelve Fugitives in the Wild — set in another world, without fantasy elements but with an 18th-century time period. Muskets, carriages, a dark tower, missing persons, and lots and lots of unexpected plot-twists…

Brave new step: Undertaking my first NaNo.

My first year was utterly insane. It was an unofficial NaNo (i.e. I didn’t sign up with the site) and I had no idea what I was getting into. I decided to do it the night before, and pantsed the whole thing, which I had very little experience with… I managed to reach my goal but not without falling dreadfully behind most of the month, and having to do an enormous catch-up day, writing 8,000 words on the last day. It took the entire day and much chocolate and family members pushing me back to the computer every time I wandered away in despair… *cough* But I made the 50,000! I was so happy.

NaNo #2: 2011 — The Perfect Year

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Far-mark’s Dream — to this day, the only novel I actually finished during NaNo. A fantasy adventure story featuring prophecies and salt fairies and bats and a serpent, and three friends (one reluctant; okay, he hates them and opposes everything they stand for, but to be fair he’d been enchanted. *cough*) who set out to defeat the Empire, with much epicness along the way.

Brave new step: Joined the NaNo site and forums.

My second NaNo was a complete dream come true. Learning from my mistakes of the first year, I planned ahead and had the whole novel plotted before day 1, made sure to stay on top of my wordcount, and just had a blast. I hit a few snags through the month, but always came through, and finished two days early… actually finishing the novel itself as well. I still look back at this year as my ultimate NaNo experience. ❤ I loved the book too. I still do… though I’d like to rewrite it a bit and expand some of the things. *nod*

NaNo #3: 2012 — The Overconfident Year

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Grey Betrayal — Book #1 in my several-book Epic Fantasy series, this one features plots and war and mountains, a talking bear, and the adventures of two friends, one of whom has many secrets…

Brave new step: I stepped out of my introvert writer shell and went to write-ins and a victory party at the end!

Oh, this year. I had grown arrogant, I fear… After my insane impromptu first year, followed by one where I took precautions and nearly everything went smoothly, I thought that NaNos were a breeze, apparently, as long as you planned for them. Alas, I was wrong! I didn’t realize that my second year had been the best and easiest NaNo I’d ever have the pleasure of being a part of. I started out pretty well on this third year, especially thanks to the numerous rambling thoughts of my main character, which gave me lots of words (thanks, Faron). But then I hit a snag a third of the way through called running-out-of-plot. I had neglected to plot further, and the rest of the month was a serious struggle. I pushed through at the end, but emerged a humbled NaNoer, realizing my good fortune of the previous year for what it was.

NaNo #4: 2013 — The Leading Year

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Underground Rainbow — contemporary fantasy featuring a young photographer and his adventures with various fantastical creatures: gnomes, griffins, leprechauns, and the like.

Brave new step: I stepped into a co-leadership role as a NaNoWriMo ML for my region. (Municipal Liaison: volunteer event organizer/local leader.)

This year started out all right, and then life crashed around me. It was my first year as an ML and that took up a lot of my time and creative juices, plus I was kind of in a writing slump, so that took its toll. This year is actually kind of hazy in my memory… But the story was a lot of fun, despite that, and I did make it in the end. Not to mention the wonderful camaraderie of my region this year, which was fantastic. ^_^

NaNo #5: 2014 — The Roadtrip Year

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Heartseeker — original fairytale YA fantasy romance type thing, featuring the princess who goes on a quest to find the heart of her betrothed.

Brave new step: Well, it wasn’t very brave, exactly, since I had no choice, but it was definitely crazy. I managed to do NaNo while being on a roadtrip most of the month AND ML-ing at the same time. It. was. insane. But I’m also very proud of me for surviving and doing okay. XD

Although it was arguably my most difficult year, due to a roadtrip in the middle on top of life and ML-ing, this is also one of my favorite NaNos, looking back at it. I’d say this and the Far-mark year were the best. Writing in the car was a new challenge, and one I only survived due to helpfully-pestering family members, and the kindness of my co-ML lending me a power adapter so I could use my laptop in the car and some rewarding letters from her characters which I could only open at certain points. I also was thankful for being snowed in at my uncle’s house for a couple of days, which allowed me to catch up in the middle of the trip. I finished off this NaNo with a spectacular write-in at a library late at night, which is my favorite NaNo memory. ❤ I can’t believe I survived it, and I definitely wouldn’t have without the support of wonderful friends and family, but it was a challenge and, despite the stress, was a blast as well.

NaNo #6: 2015 — The Rebel Year

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  • The Silver Forest — retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  • The Rose and the Raven — novella retelling of Sleeping Beauty
  • The Secret of Kedran’s Wood — book #2 in my modern-fantasy series starring Tare and the Chess Club

Brave new step: Turning rebel (not so much brave as insane) and actually working on THREE different stories during NaNo in order to hit my 50K goal, instead of just one like the “rules” (made to be broken. ;)) state and like I’d done every year.

I did all right with my 12 Dancing Princesses story until exactly halfway through the month when it decided to inform me that I’d gotten the whole beginning wrong and would have to scrap everything I’d written and completely restart the novel. Um. It was going to be so much awesomer with the new twists that had emerged, but SERIOUSLY?? IN THE MIDDLE OF NANO?? What kind of bad timing was this? (Answer: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times . . . You can read the story of my Mid-NaNo-Crisis here.) I ended up abandoning it for the time being and instead taking the opportunity to work on my novella for the Rooglewood contest, with bits of KW2 to help whenever the painstaking shortness of the novella got too much. I survived this one too (despite a nasty cold near the end and running out of plot a couple times) but wow, it was definitely a new challenge! Writing more than one story in a month is super hard, because you have to get into the right mindframe for each of them, and switching between them is difficult. But it turned out okay, so huzzah!

NaNo #7: 2016 — ???

Story to write this year: To Be Announced…

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Brave new step: I’m going to be ML-ing this  year totally on my own. In my previous three years as an ML, I’ve had wonderful co-MLs and helpers with whom I’ve shared the burden. I’m all alone this year and just hoping I’ll be able to do it without those wonderful people having my back. Wish me luck, because this is scary. XD

Obviously, this year’s NaNo adventure is a mystery yet to be discovered (unless you happen to be a time-traveler, which I, unfortunately, am not…). What will happen this year? I’m as curious as you are!

Stay tuned for next week’s post which will (hopefully) be all about what I hope to work on this NaNo! (No promises, of course; NaNo projects are notoriously slippery beasts.)

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So there you have my past NaNo exploits! What about yourselves, my roadlings? Have you done NaNo? How many? What were your best (and worst) NaNos? Tell me aaall in the comments!