Today is the eighth day of NaNoWriMo, my current wordcount is 12,310.
There is lots of debate within the NaNo communtity about whether writers should be Planners (self-explanitory) or Pantsers (as in by-the-seat-of-your-pants). Within the larger writing community you might recognize this as the difference between Outlining or Discovery Writing, or being an Architect vs. a Gardener.
My first NaNo, I started on Nov. 1st with one cool idea and half a plot. It was very difficult for me to get to the end of 50,000 words,. I did it, but it was torture. However, forcing myself to get those words down taught me what it is to build a scene off of a single uninspired sentence, and that is a skill I have been making good use of ever since. Last year, I had a more solid outline, and I had a much easier time writing. However, all I had was a chapter-by-chapter outline, so I got to discover all of my dialogue as I went. This year for NaNoWriMo I did an extensive amount of planning. I got my initial idea back in April, and ever since then I have been building characters, culture, and magic system, in addition to outlining a plot.
So, I was less excited going into this NaNo because I thought that all of my story was already planned out. I figured all I would be doing was writing down all of the stuff that I had planned, so my story had lost all of its wonder for me. I already knew the ending, I already knew how the world I had created worked, I already knew what needed to be said in the scenes, I felt like I was going to be walking a treadmill for the month of November. Sure, I would feel good about what I had accomplished, and I would have done something great, but it wouldn't be all that exciting.
This week, I found out that I was wrong.
Yes, I had done an inordinate amount of planning. And didn't mean that there was no room for pantsing as I was writing. It meant there was a scaffolding to build upon. All of my planning made a framework that I could organize my pantsing onto. I wasn't constrained by my planning, I was directed by it. And as a result, my patsing was so much more productive. All the ideas that were coming to me while I wrote were relevant to my story! They weren't just random ideas of what I would like my characters to do or talk about. They were filling in plot holes, tying up ends, and mind blowing OMG moments! Okay, I've only had one of those last ones, but there's only been one week in November so far, so maybe I'll get one a week, right?
Since I've started writing, I've tried a few different ways. It turns out that I work best as a plantser! This won't work for everyone, and it isn't how every capitol-A Author works, but it works for me. Tell me about you? What is your planning style, or do you even have one? Any surprises as you are working on your NaNo this year?