In case you missed it, I reviewed Shannon’s LIFE AFTER JULIET here! (Spoiler alert–SO GOOD!)
Hello, Campers! It’s Camp NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) time! Anyone ever thought about writing a novel in a month?
Me either. Some people can be creative under pressure, but I don’t work that way. My creativity shuts down in a big hurry when I’m being pushed to create.
Now, if it were Camp NaNoReMo (National Novel Revision Month), then I’d be totally game. I’d be the first one sitting around that campfire singing Kumbaya! We could sit around roasting marshmallows and feeding the fire with useless scenes that need to be burned from our manuscripts.
Creating and revising a novel are two separate things, requiring different types of brain function and work styles.
I’m not a planner. I’m what we call a pantser. When I sit down to draft a novel, I know who my main characters are, where they are starting, and a vague idea of where I want them to end up (and the absolute knowledge that the ending I’m imagining is probably no where near the place I’ll actually end). That’s all I need to start.
Honestly, if I have more than that, it tends to stifle my creativity. When I began LIFE AFTER JULIET, I actually spent a week outlining a story. And then I spent a month trying to write from that outline. And then I gave up and threw the whole thing away. The story felt stale and stiff, like a reanimated corpse—not exactly the writing style I’m going for.
For my characters and the story to be alive, I have to work within as little structure as possible. No outlines, no expectations, and especially no timelines.
Once the first draft is done, then I can introduce outlines, expectations, and timelines. I switch gears from the creative brain to the analytical brain. That’s when NaNoReMo brain kicks in.
The revision process is all about tearing things apart and putting them back together in a stronger way. After I’m done with a first draft, then I’ll fill out a plot outline, making sure what I’ve written lines up with basic plot structure. Scenes that don’t line up with plot structure need to be rewritten or trimmed.
Revision is also a time when I actually crave deadlines. It’s easy as a perfectionist to never be satisfied. Having a timeline helps keep me moving. Most importantly, hitting that hard deadline helps me let go and pass the story on to either my writing group, agent, or editor.
So, you won’t see me signing up for any NaNoWriMo camps any time soon, but if anyone wants to go to revision camp with me, then I’m all in. I’ll even bring the S’mores!
Sounds like a plan, Shannon! Until there is a Camp NaNoReMo, though, here’s the link to Camp NaNoWriMo. There’s still time to join in the insanity! 😉
About Shannon Lee Alexander:
Shannon Lee Alexander is a wife and mother (of two kids and one yellow terrier named Harriet Potter). She is passionate about coffee, books, and cancer research. She spent most of her time in high school hiding out in the theater with the drammies and techies. Math still makes her break out in a sweat. She currently lives in Indianapolis with her family.
Find her at www.shannonleealexander.com
Social media links:
Book Title: Life After Juliet
Author: Shannon Lee Alexander
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Contemporary YA
Becca Hanson was never able to make sense of the real world. When her best friend Charlotte died, she gave up on it altogether. Fortunately, Becca can count on her books to escape—to other times, other places, other people…
Until she meets Max Herrera. He’s experienced loss, too, and his gorgeous, dark eyes see Becca the way no one else in school can.
As it turns out, kissing is a lot better in real life than on a page. But love and life are a lot more complicated in the real world…and happy endings aren’t always guaranteed.
The companion novel to Love and Other Unknown Variables is an exploration of loss and regret, of kissing and love, and most importantly, a celebration of hope and discovering a life worth living again.