What helped, what went sideways, and what I learned that I can use every day.
1 - What helped.
1) Warm-up – I had written four hours a day for the six weeks prior to November 1. Although it was non-fiction I was writing, the habit of sitting down in the morning and again after lunch served me well during NaNo.
2) I do not have an out-of-the-house job – a major bonus.
3) As I stated in my thoughts after day 1, I had characters and a rough plan when I started page 1.
4) I have finally killed off my Miss Purdy (critic) and was able to write fluently without worry about it was good, bad, or even useful. I simply focused and wrote.
5) Being a fast typist probably helped as well. Plus, this is my sixth book. I’ve been here before.
6) Knowing my buddies were rooting for me gave me courage.
2 - What went sideways.
1) My title was Uncle Lem Fakes a Wife. First off, Sam Logan butted in and took over the narrative.
2) Secondly Uncle Lem did not cooperate. He kept hiding from me. He does appear as a secondary character in the first four books in the series. Apparently, he doesn’t want his own book.
3) In the end, Mary Morrison (who was to be the fake wife) stepped into the lead role. After that, things went more smoothly.
4) My killer didn’t like her character sketch and operated in ways that didn’t fit it.
5) If my crooked fingers type wrong, the program underlines and I can fix. Don’t look. Just type.
3 - My take-way from all this.
1) Habits are essential for high production. Write every day to keep in ‘writing shape’.
2) Be brave and if needed shift protagonists (or anything else) mid-stream BUT KEEP GOING.
3) Writing without a resident critic is so much more fun. Need to keep her locked up.
4) If not sure what to type in the beginning each day, read the previous two or three paragraphs, type AND THEN and write down whatever comes to mind.
5) Let the characters act how they want and change the character sketches later to back up their behavior.
6) Planning is good, (I always plan) but sometimes pants-tering is just as good and occasionally more enlightening. DO BOTH.
7) Once I have my Draft Zero written, my boys in the basement start to feed me what I need to alter, add, and delete to make a decent next Draft.
Will I do NaNoWriMo again?
But I know that I can write a useable draft in fifteen days if I want to.
That knowledge alone was worth the effort.
My question in Week 2: Can I keep the pace?
Damn right I can.
My advice to you if you want to give it a try.