#NaNoWriMo2016 – what I’ll do differently next time

NaNoWriMo was an experimental, learning experience for me – never really attempted it before and wanted badly to just let rip on a new novel, one I haven’t stewed and stressed too much about. My stats are below – the massive jump at the very end was because when I pasted it from Scrivener into the validator, it seemed to find a whole load more words? Not sure what that was about.


Having done it once, I’ll definitely be doing it again so here I’m reminding myself of the good and the bad of the experience:


  • I have a story that I really like!
  • I started planning in October and dreamed up a completely new story from scratch. I loved this and I stopped myself being too precious about it.
  • Planning worked well for me: apart from being fun (I’m a plotter…), it meant I started November with a good road map, but also with room to manoeuvre. I had scene outlines but nothing too specific.
  • HWWF2016: the MOOC clashed with Nanowrimo which wasn’t ideal in terms of workload but meant I had a ready-made community to egg me on and share experiences. I appreciated this. I also was able to use the MOOC content and assignments to help limber up for Nanowrimo. Having said that, it would be better if they didn’t overlap.
  • It made me write – I had a focus all through the month and a commitment that is sadly lacking at other times! It was just easier to say ‘no, I have to do this’ regardless of what else was going on or carving out time where there seemed to be none.
  • I took advantage of the extended free trial for Scrivener which kept me well organised. Having said that, I didn’t warm to it enough to buy it. It was good, but not good enough to make up for the shortcomings (i.e. lack of portability across devices unless I pay for multiple versions).


  • I made some of the same mistakes with this novel as with the last one: I didn’t work enough on my protagonist at the start and even now I’m still feeling my way into her personality. More work on characters up front! I’d hoped I’d find her voice as I wrote and to some extent I did, but not enough to sparkle.
  • I paced myself all wrong, due to word count fears. As it turned out, it was easy to hit that word count. When the story was going well, I could fly – knocked out well over the daily target. So I ended up finishing the whole thing well under 50k and then having to scrabble around padding it out at the end. I should have measured out roughly how many words each bit needed and done more work on the earlier sections.
  • I’m not sure writing from start to finish worked for me? With my last novel I wrote key scenes first and I think that suits me better. It may have solved my pacing problem.
  • Some of my writing was REALLY BAD. I know it’s all about quantity but I’m still ashamed of it…
  • I’m left with something of a monumental muddle to sort out!



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