Friday Five: What I Learned From My Three Day Novel Experiment

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Man. I hoped all of you would have forgotten about my Three Day Novel Experiment by now, but apparently, time did not favor me this time around. But, you all are just so awesome, you know? You cheered me on and left encouraging notes throughout my posts…all of your support meant so much. And the fact you’re still here after over a month of absolute nothingness on my blog?? Thank you, thank you, thank you. You all simply rock.

So, what happened during my Three Day Novel Experiment? I could tell you I wrote my 60,000 word first draft and let you all go green monster on me. But, I’d be stretching the truth…in a big, big, big way. Perhaps I could tell you I failed miserably, but it still wouldn’t totally represent what I’ve accomplished. Instead of going on and on about every little detail, and perhaps bore you to tears, I’ve decided to smush it all in the five important things I learned from this experiment:

1. A plot outline is absolutely essential to keeping on track when one is on a deadline. OK. I’ll even go so far as to say, all the time. *shudder* I hate to say it, but it’s true. The plot outline kept me focused, saved time, but also gave me the room to deviate from the path and easily find a way back, when my characters decided to go wild.

2. Three days of writing non-stop is extremely hard work, especially when one has children and car pools, work, and/or other daily responsibilities. No, duh, right? Schedule in breaks and treat yourself right. I have a high level of appreciation for writers who need to churn out work in short periods of time. It is mentally and physically taxing, and anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t know which end is up. Just sayin’.

3. I need a quiet place to write, especially if I’m writing in concentrated periods of time. I’m so envious of the writers who gather at coffee shops, at someone’s home, or at writing retreats. How cool would it be to hang with other writerly folk and write and plot and run ideas off each other? But, I’m the type that needs to be in a Writing Cave, totally isolated from the world, so I can walk around, read my words out loud, and even act some parts out to see if things make sense.

4. I LOVE my protagonist. She is totally kick-butt in the nicest of ways. Of course you know I’m going to say that since I planned her character ahead of time, it was so much easier to create her voice, right?

5. I am an automatic revisionist by heart. Even though I went into this experiment knowing I shouldn’t couldn’t edit as I went along, it was hard to fight against nature. It helped me focus on my MC’s voice so she could tell her story. I’m hoping this will save me time in the long run, but if it ends up taking me longer to finish the first draft of my new project, I can live with it.

Overall, in the three days, I wrote about 15,000 words. I think it’s a fine start. Of course I’m a sucker for goal setting, so guess what I’m doing in November? Yup. If you want to be my buddy on NaNoWriMo, you can find me under hipwritermama.

So, how is your writing going?

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Vivian Lee Mahoney

Consider yourself warned: I write books about rebels. I'm also a postergirlz for readergirlz, a literary advisory group for teens. Who knew going back to the teenage years would be so rewarding?

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