30 November: NaNo Wrap-Up

It’s the end of another season of NaNo, and it’s time for another monthly wrap-up – special edition!

So how did you do this year, Feliza?

Well… for the first time ever, I won!  I ended up with just a little over 50,000 words basically at the last minute, though I do have about five hours left in November now that I’m done…  My procrastinating ways have not left me.

What did you learn?

I actually learned a lot about England, actually.  Much of Victorious takes place in an alternate-universe version of London, so I had to learn a lot of things about London and about England in general.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

  • Parliament is housed in Westminster Palace, which is divided into two primary parts: The Chamber of Lords and the Chamber of Commons (possibly just Lords Chamber and Commons Chamber, but that was a little vague.)
  • (Also, the Big Ben clock tower is connected to Westminster.)
  • There are at least four streets in London called “Wentworth Road.”
  • There is a Portland in England, and the title for the nobility that resides there is the “Earl of Portland.”  How cool.

In terms of writing, I learned it’s much nicer to chip away chunks of 200 or 400 words at a time when I’m stuck.  Writer’s block is something I usually don’t have to deal with (as I said in this guest post) but I did this month, since NaNo competed with multiple papers and my job.

Most of all, I learned that being stubborn (which some people call “being determined”) is possibly one of my better traits.  Without that stubbornness and determination, I never could have done this.

What changed while you wrote?

Everything.

Just kidding.  But a lot of things did change.  When I started writing Victorious, I had a few primary characters: the protagonist, Augustine Allen, the several-greats grandson of the first black lawyer in America; Victoria, a college journalist in the alternate universe Augustine gets sucked into; Victor, Victoria’s twin brother and a mechanics/science prodigy; and the Duke and Duchess of Wales, Andrew and Mina.

My first day of writing Victorious, though, I added a new major character: Beth Nguyen, Augustine’s best friend in his own world.  She spent the rest of the novel doing a bunch of random things – usually when I was bored, needed to word-pad, or even when I was hungry.

I also spent more time talking about and developing Prince Andrew, Duke of Wales, and Mina, Duchess of Wales, than I originally expected.  While I can’t really tell you too much without giving away the plot, I can tell you that Andrew became a much more interesting prince and Mina went from forward-thinking royalty to working journalist and college instructor.

What would you recommend I do if I want to write a novel?

If you want to write a novel, the first thing you need to do is try to do it.  There are so many ways to do this, even if you think you don’t have time.  Take fifteen minutes normally reserved for Twitter or Facebook and pour it into writing even 100 words of a story.

I’d encourage everyone who wants to write a novel to try NaNoWriMo, but I personally believe aspiring NaNos should try Script Frenzy first.  It’s still hard, but it’s not as hard as NaNo – plus, it’s coming up in April, and you won’t be able to NaNo the regular way until Camp NaNoWriMo in July and August.

Also, my boyfriend and I discussed this a lot during the challenge: you must, must, must read.  If you’re not reading, you can’t write – because you never learn style, good dialogue, or what to look for in a story.

The Hard Facts

Total Words Written: 50,186

Completed?: Not by a long shot.  There’s plenty of adventure left for Augustine and Victoria.  At least the remaining chapters are outlined.

Won?:  YES!

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4 thoughts on “30 November: NaNo Wrap-Up

    • Thanks, Jennifer! I think I might end up developing it as something else – probably a graphic novel script – but I’m not quite sure yet. I’ll post updates as they come along.

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