Although November is often thought of as “No Shave” month. I prefer to leverage it as an opportunity to improve my writing skills in National November Writing Month. For this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m focusing on finishing Steel Strong. I can’t wait!
Started during NaNoWriMo 2015, I’ve been unsuccessful in buttoning Steel Strong up. Although I won NaNo that year with over 53K words, the book is a bit of a mess. I wrote a lot of scenes, many of them quite interesting and fun to read. But, I didn’t follow my outline. As such, it is difficult to read.
In preparation for this year, I read through my synopsis and went back through my outline. The flow is there, but I found that much of what I wrote didn’t fit. It’s as if I had an idea, but then threw it out the window and wrote something else. My follow ups in No wonder I didn’t finish it. To my surprise, even what I did write doesn’t fit well into the story. Ugh. I’m starting over.
To that end, I kicked off this year with a whole new introduction. I decided some time back that I would end up with 5 books in the series. I know, I haven’t even published one yet. So, this novel now directly follows Broken Steel, the novel I finished during NaNo 2014. Although written 4 years ago, scenes are rushing back to me as I started writing again. I’m feeling confident so far.
How not to write.
After my successful writing sprints during both of 2014, I struggled in 2015 to keep going. I stepped away from my Steel Series in April, failing to finish a fresh start on a quirky mystery novel. Thinking that was going nowhere, I started what was the second major novel in the series. That failed as well. Things were changing at work, so it was little surprise I struggled. Not an excuse, just a fact.
In either case, my lack of an outline and clear direction beyond a synopsis was my downfall. I learned that lesson in 2014. Putting a clear framework in place made it easier to write, with three successful writing months. So, for NaNo 2015, I went back to my roots and wrote an outline.
To my surprise, I won NaNo that year not following that outline. Instead, I just had fun writing. I have a ton of scenes, many of which relate. But, they don’t flow together in a coherent form. As such, I spent the first part of 2016 trying to write finish what I’d start.
Reducing my Camp word count goal, I thought I could split my remains writing amongst the two months. April was a success, clocking in another 34K words. But, much like the previous November, what I wrote didn’t jive with the story. Without a plot, I gave up again and focused on other writings.
Almost giving up.
Over the course of the next two years, I focused my writing on short stories and attempts at other novels in the series. Although happy with the short stories, I never quite hit my word goal. A few stories were completed, but many were overly ambitious and were left incomplete.
I tried skipping Steel Strong for awhile, focusing instead on other ideas for the series. Some of what I wrote for this story made there way into what will be my forth novel, Dark Steel. If only I could get my plot going again. As before, I tried some flow of consciousness like writing without real results. Honestly, I don’t recommend you do this.
Again, going to something else for NaNo 2017, life events prevented much progress. I even tried to re-focus again during this year’s Camp, this time on the final Steel Series book called Steel Forged. But nothing seemed to work. I was lost.
Returning full circle to this NaNo, I decided to stop procrastinating. Instead, I’m going to try to get Steel Strong done. I can do this, right? I’ve got the first two scenes completed, each a fresh start from my first attempts. I redoing my outline, trying to pull all the scenes back together into some cohesive plot. I have a good timeline in my head, so I’m hopeful.
I may not have gotten my full word count today, at least on my novel. Yet my goal is to keep at it. I’m sure I can do this, even if it kills me. Good thing I have some more runs to help work through some ideas.
Wish me luck!