If you did NaNoWriMo

I got a wonderful e-mail yesterday from a guy who did his first NaNo this year, and won. With his permission, I’m posting it here:

I just “won” this year. My first year. My first shot at a novel.
Totally unprepared. The bottle of Jameson’s was opened, oh yes
indeed.

And I’m a LONG way from being finished with it. So – I guess I should
put your “How To Revise Your Novel” course on my Christmas list?

Hope you see a LOT of emails like this one from folks who have taken
your courses/workshops/clinics.

Thanks!


–Michael McNeill

Any more of you folks run and win? Or get work you liked, which I personally consider winning, too?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

19 comments… add one
  • Ana Dec 15, 2010 @ 14:51

    This was my first NaNoWriMo and I won. NaNoWriMo changed my life. I was able to finish a novel I had started years ago. I don’t think I would have finished were it not for me entering the contest on a whim.

  • Laura Dec 15, 2010 @ 10:39

    This was my first NaNo and I won, and I’m glad I went through the experience, and would have been even if I hadn’t won.
    Extra perk: I found your website through the forums! People were discussing editing and one mentioned your article about how to edit in one go. Hopefully it will be helpful to me once I start editing!

  • Ieva Dec 6, 2010 @ 7:24

    I did NaNo this year. Got to the what I hoped would be the ending and realized that after 66K I am in the middle, with a big cliffhanger that changes everything, stalled, dropped the thing for now (since trying to wrap it up in haste would ruin the story). So, for now, I’m thinking of this as Book One, with approximately the same amount of text to come. For Science Fantasy probably is not as bad as it sounds, length-wise.
    Finishing it will have to wait though, because in the upcoming year, I’m determined to get the edits of my previous novel done. I don’t know what has changed in my attitude toward writing/editing, but I finally seem to understand what should I be doing with HTRYN. This will be a humongous work though.

    The good news is that my NaNo novel is heckofalot better than anything I’ve written before, so yay for that.

  • Stephanie Dec 5, 2010 @ 22:05

    I did my first year for NaNo and won also, I only took the course in mid November though, when I was thinking of quitting but I read the motivation course that came with it and push me forward and now I am planning my next novel, aiming for it to be publish. I have plan the whole month of December to plan and already thanks to the course I change so much my idea and it morph to something so much more interesting then what I was planning in the first place!

    I use the course to make make the way I plan better. To make my story interesting and scene emerging.Look like it is working! Now how the hell am I going to tell my mom that I want to be a writer not a game programmer. >.>

  • Cat (from HtTS) Dec 5, 2010 @ 5:44

    This was my 4th year and I won. But this time, it was much easier. I wrote 1 1/2 novel (MG) despite the fact that I cut my finger badly and had it wrapped to the one beside it for 2 weeks. I pre-planned both novels with Holly’s techniques and they came out wonderful. I don’t think they will require much revision but I’ll see when I take them through HtRYN in January.

  • Melissa Volny Dec 4, 2010 @ 23:28

    This was my 8th year of nanoing and my 7th win!!! This year my brother and niece also won!!! It was a stellar year. I actually had some conflict, plots and coherent scenes this year, thanks to HTRYN.
    I plan on putting a little space between me and my 2010 nano – and then after the first of the year, I will use it with the HTRYN course. Can’t wait!
    I have already revised my first nano – 2003 – and while it was a piece of c***, I had so much fun going thru each of the lessons and actually learning something.
    Thanks Holly

  • Tracy Dec 4, 2010 @ 23:04

    This was my first year doing NaNoWriMo and much to my surprise I won on November 25, 2010 at exactly 8:00. I think the fact I’ve done all your clinics as well as taken the HtTS course is what made all the difference. I kept writing when I found those little errors in my story instead of going back to rewrite everything. I allowed myself to stink, knowing that I would fix things things in the revision process. I had to add several thousand more words before my novel was finished, but now I’m ready to begin the first revision and I too am asking for HTRYN for Christmas. Hope I get it. – Thanks for everything -Tracy

  • Intermittent Rain Dec 3, 2010 @ 19:02

    My second finish (I hate referring to them as ‘wins’). This one was much more difficult than the first. Maybe because I had a better idea what I was doing.

    🙂

    Now I’ve got another something to edit and revise, but to deal with my withdrawal I’m now re-editing the first one. Using Holly’s editing advice, of course.

  • Addy Rae Dec 3, 2010 @ 17:31

    I did NaNo this year, and I won. 🙂 It was my first year, and I signed up in the hopes of turning my writing into a daily habit.

    Now, I have a half a novel complete, and I’m setting the same goal for December. I hope to have a first draft in the middle of January. It is plotted completely, although there are a few spots where I need to shift a new scene or two in to further support the plot, and I’ve enjoyed writing it immensely.

    Right now, though, I’m write, write, writing, and there will be no feedback or editing until the rough draft is complete!

    Addy

  • Michael McNeill Dec 3, 2010 @ 17:27

    Well, I sat down with Holly’s “Create A Plot” course today and started in on it. I remembered I actually HAVE the four-some of Plot, Character, Culture, and Language and that gee, maybe I should READ THEM now that I have a 50k-word-monstrosity on my hard-drive.

    So I pulled out the Plot course and started reading, because I *KNEW* that plot needed help.

    Hit the “five questions” exercise and finally worked out five. Did my authorial meditation exercise (took a shower) and an observation/question my wife had asked me earlier in the day sank in. WAY in! I realized I had flubbed a Character along the way and made him too incompetent to have lived as long as he had, doing what he did.

    So, looking at him a bit more critically and making him actually competent, I realized I would answer most of the other questions I had come up with! I also discovered by making him competent enough to be a threat… I had extended the size of my novel – and the accompanying subplots and complications – considerably. I am now nowhere CLOSE to being finished…

  • Nancy Dec 3, 2010 @ 10:10

    This was my best nano ever, thanks to HTTS. The keyboard was on fire, I won (just shy of 104k), and although I still have maybe another 30k to go til I can type “the end”, it was the easiest nano ever. No saggy middles, no wondering what on earth should I write next. And of course, since I have been through HTRYN also, revision, come January, will be ever so much easier!

    Thank you Holly!

  • Lauren Coe Dec 3, 2010 @ 5:59

    This was my sixth NaNo, sixth win. I got an acceptable first draft out of it again, and I’m looking forward to HTRYN, to figure out how to turn these into BOOKS.

  • zette Dec 3, 2010 @ 4:44

    This was my tenth year at NaNo and I’m glad I did it, even though things went to hell in real life towards the second half of the month. I have three completed first draft novels from it and I did really well (250k). Sometimes you just have to do something crazy. NaNo is my ‘write like that’s all you really have to do in life’ month. I love it. (And now I’m working like hell to get everything else done again!)

  • Danzier Dec 3, 2010 @ 0:42

    I skipped NaNo, but I did ScriptFrenzy in April. I couldn’t figure out how to upload the pages right, though, so I’m not listed as having won. Still, I got what I wanted out of it, and I’m really looking forward to it next April…when I’m taking Screenwriting (for full-length feature films). The final project is going to coincide with the month and I’m sure it will be amazing. I’ve already reccommended it to the guys in my scriptwriting (for tv shows) class.

    What I learned: Scripts are formatting hell. I broke out one of Holly’s excercizes (Talking Heads) and wrote that way for a while, because I was losing the story in the tab stops. I tried using a free scriptwriting program, but when I converted to a pdf it messed up the margins. I HIGHLY reccommend working out the story before scripting. It makes it easier to keep the actors – I mean characters – in line.

  • Larkk Dec 2, 2010 @ 20:15

    I’m still a little giddy from my second Nano win so pardon me if I gush a bit! But this year, wow, I cracked 100k and kept right on going, until by Nov 30 I was at 121k. And I got to the ending I was hoping for.
    Without question I can ascribe a lot of my success to what I’m learning in revision (HTRYN) Scene a little flabby? No problem, I’ve got conflict and I know how to use it. A little low on words today? Break out the subplots. Characters boring or inconsistent? Ask the tough questions. Basically, when things started to go off the rails, I had the tools to bring the story back on track.
    I will withhold judgement on the quality of what I got, although I did get some positive feedback on some short excerpts (!!!!) but I suspect the revision will be a lot easier on this one. (my fourth novel, wheeee!!!) In any case, I had a blast writing it.

  • Crystal Cherie Dec 2, 2010 @ 19:33

    This was my first year at NaNo, and I started extremely late, but still managed to win! I plan on using some of your course modules to help revise it! Thanks! I can’t wait till next NaNo!

  • Kevin O. McLaughlin Dec 2, 2010 @ 18:20

    Sounds like an echo of many of us, most likely. For me? Won NaNo 08, looked at it, said “hey, not bad – plot, characters, conflict..hmmm”. Then let it sit. Did NaNo in 09 again, won again, and once more – hey, this is not bad, hmmm, wonder if I can fix the first one? A little lost, I signed up for HTRYN. Lots of helpful material there. =)

    This November, I finished a NaNo novel and got 10k into another. I am almost done with a heavy revision of the 08 book. Then I have the 09 and 10 novels to revise, the one I just started to complete, and the sequel to the 08 novel to write (maybe in November 2011!). Oh, and I’m pondering entering a SS writing/submission dare that someone started last year, too.

    Momentum is growing!

  • Sophia Dec 2, 2010 @ 16:04

    I did. It started slowly, but around 10 days in, I went back and redid HTTS 1-7, and suddenly things started moving forward and speeding up. I’m very grateful to have those lessons to refer to whenever I need them. Thank you, Holly.

  • The Pencil Neck Dec 2, 2010 @ 15:25

    This was my first attempt at Nano… and I won!

    I used HtTS techniques along with several techniques I’d picked up from the Plot, Character, Culture, and Language clinics.

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