On the end of NaNoWriMo… and then writing its sequel

So NaNoWriMo is over, and I’ve been decompressing by, ah, well… writing.

I must be insane. I know, I get it. One of my friends told me tonight, “You know, November’s over. You can stop writing now.” I laughed at him. Because you remember what I said earlier about shutting up and doing your job? I was serious about that.

I finished my novel on November 28. I didn’t hit 50,000 words that day – because I hit it on November 17 – I actually finished the novel. Shit, I thought, I’ve got two more days to fill with writing because so help me I will reach 80,000 words this month (spoiler: I did!), so I started on its sequel.

This is where I flag. Sequels. Terrifying, considering I’d like to make a living on dark fantasy series.

So here’s what happens:
Step 1: Get awesome idea. Get super excited.
Step 2: Run it by awesome plot sounding board friends.
Step 3: Write book. This usually takes 5-8 weeks.
Step 4: Launch immediately into sequel.
Step 5: Panic.

And we’re in High Alert Panic Mode right now, which is just stupid. Because – and you remember all that ranting I did about “plotting” and “organic storytelling” and “knowing where you’re going with a story”? I did that here. I have index cards and three whole sheets of paper with notes on plot, inciting incidents, plot points, act divisions, questions that might arise… honestly, I don’t even know who I am anymore. But there you are – I’ve done it. Step 1, check.

I’ve eagerly squeed plot ideas to anyone who will sit still long enough, and no one’s thrown up. Yet. Step 2, check.

I started writing it on the 29th of November, because I needed more words. I got about 2500 words in on it before the month ended, but I deleted and rewrote a lot of it after that because I didn’t love how it started. I’m 12k in now, and I’m starting to worry about the middle of it. I’m jumping straight to Step 5 without even bothering to complete Step 3. This is stupid, and inevitable, because I’ve done it three (four?) times now. Last year’s original NaNo project was the sequel to the first novel I’d ever finished (which I’d finished the month previous), and I got 15k in and said, the hell with this, and started over with a fresh Step 1. So I wrote that book. And then I wrote its sequel (which, oddly enough, was better than the original), and when I started in on the third installment (which, oddly enough, will be the second, because I’m trashing the first).

So what’s the solution? Maybe I should work in different universes for a while before tackling the next project. It will be a lot easier this time around because I’ve got the plot laid out (no chapter/scene lists; I’m not a masochist). I had a good idea for a short story in the car this morning; maybe I should work on that. Maybe I should work on revisions for last year’s book.

Or… maybe I should quit my bellyaching and write the damn book.

Hey, that’s pretty good advice, Sara: shut up and write.

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2 Responses to On the end of NaNoWriMo… and then writing its sequel

  1. Great post thanks. I really enjoyed it very much. You have excellent content on your blog.

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  2. Novel Girl says:

    Lol! I love your rambling.

    I’ve just done a post called ‘Why braiding is like story structure’. I hope you find it helpful with your novel. I also did a post on the three-act structure. http://rebeccaberto.wordpress.com

    Keep plowing ahead. You write like a machine!

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