A Monster on my Hands-NaNoWriMo 2016

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times… It was maddening and it was sobering… 

When I decided to do the NaNoWriMo this year, it was chasing a dream. The dream of writing on and on, pushing back the boundaries of what could not be done till now and discovering what my strengths and weaknesses were. In chasing my dream, what I got was a monster of a story on my hands. 

In writing everyday, in being prolific, in trying to create a story out of my own head I found gems in snippets. In looking for beauty and writing it in words, and in expressing emotions that had been buried and freshly felt, it has been an incredible journey. 

It was maddening at times, because now I knew my limitations while pushing myself to write more and create more. I understood finally what I could or could not do to plots and sub plots, for character development and for pacing. It was also sobering because there were so many things that I did not know about the writing process and also because I knew that the journey is long. I did not really think of the ways I was going to be challenged and I wished someone had told me. 

At the same time, it was a very liberating experience because it was an exercise in writing with ‘literary abandon’. Till now, I would be very careful about the flow of the pieces I wrote. I would get the voice right and I would check the tone of the piece. But this was just putting down the story on paper or screen, in bits and pieces and in fragments as they came to mind. There were slices from life and there were pedantic passages and the good thing was that they all seemed to fit in. At least, in the larger scheme of things. 

Writing the month through for NaNoWriMo was exhilarating even because of the imperfection I could embrace. Finally, I could let the typos be. Finally I could keep the contradictions in the story, till the time I completed the story. Every little detail set the mind off on a journey of thoughts and permutations and possibilities. I did not need to remember the last setting or the last dialogue because I could always go back and stitch it up together neatly, discarding some bits and polishing the others so that the quilt of words was beautiful. In all that time, best was not the enemy of good or good enough and the imperfection turned out to be quite nonsensical as well. 

It has been quite cathartic because in writing so much I was forced to reach into the recesses of my consciousness and pull those demons out. I wrote the story in that order. I wrote the emotional scenes first because I was going through a lot of upheaval in my life. I turned to love next but keep coming back to the pain and the shock. It was when I reached the middle point in the targeted word count that I told myself to write a linear narrative. By that time, all the overwhelming feelings had been described and lived through and I was ready to move on… Both in the story and in my life. 

I plodded along and the story gained momentum. In a few days, it was a monster on the run. 

The pile of words that I had collected till now became larger. It had fragments, emotions, characters and the hint of a story. 

The words and the characters and the bare skeleton of a story took on its own form, acquired flesh and blood, fattened up on my imagination and became a roaring unstoppable monster, hard to control and marching on and on. I tried to run after it, tried to keep pace, wondering where it would go next. Towards the end, it roared and snapped a few obstacles in its way to reach its destination. 

In the month of November, my word pile grew 50 k high; likely to grow further and I am proud of it. 

What has been your NaNoWriMo experience been like? 

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4 Comments

  1. Much of my experience mirrored yours. Being able to turn off the internal editor-critic was a first time experience. Now it’s moving the fragment around like a jigsaw puzzle. Yesterday a major wrinkle to add popped up out of the blue and has given the next phase a new energy. Congrats on your achievement.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. Knowing that you have been through the same experience, having the same ups and downs feels like such a support.
      It is wonderful that you have found another wrinkle or a sub plot because it is difficult to get back to the story after the mad dash for the 50 k.
      Congratulations to you too for meeting the challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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