Post-Nano Thoughts

Did you make it? Did you win Nanowrimo? If you set out to do it, I hope you hit your goal. If not, keep going, and get it done in the next couple weeks. This is my fifth year doing Nanowrimo, and my fourth win, though on the year I didn’t win I hit 50K by the 10th of December. So if you didn’t make it, keep going, and get it done, you have a year (or more) to rework it.

Every year is a unique experience, and the outcome is different every time. This time I had the unique experience of hitting a point where I realized the climax of my story (which I didn’t get to before hitting 50k) is all wrong. I stink at climaxes the first time around. I’ve never written a book I didn’t have to completely redo the climax. The difference is that this time around, I realized it. So what happened to my story? Well, it kind of plateaus around the 50k mark and then fizzles for a few thousand words after that.

Obviously, I’m going to have to find out what the real climax needs to be. Everyone tells me I need to come up the resolution (including the climax) before starting the story–to know ahead of time what you’re headed toward, so the whole story can work toward that point. I’ve always done that, but for me, it’s never panned out correctly. So what am I going to do? Simple. Rethink the direction of the story, assign a new better climax/resolution, and revise the entire work with the new focus in mind.

Yeah, it’s a lot of work. But I’ve had to put a lot of work into every book, and they usually get rewritten so many times that it almost doesn’t matter what I write the first time around. I haven’t found a way to get my climax right the first draft. Maybe I’ll try writing the climax first next time… we’ll see.

Either way, I’m excited to have another book to shape. I’m sloooowwwwllly learning to love revision. Very slowly.

I’m also excited to have some writing momentum back. I always have to keep writing the first half of December (though at a much tamer daily word count), and even if the momentum doesn’t stick, I’m going to enjoy the next couple weeks of writing anyway.

So what was this year’s unique experience for you? Get any insight you could share with the rest of us?

About Chas Hathaway

Chas is an author, musician, husband, dad, and X-grave digger. He's always enjoyed writing. He started keeping a daily journal when he was 13, and that started a pattern of regular writing that has continued to this day.

His first book, Giraffe Tracks, a memoir of his missionary experiences in South Africa, was published in 2010, and in July 2011, Cedar Fort published his book, Marriage is Ordained of God, but WHO Came Up with DATING?!

Chas has been playing piano since 1994, and actively writing New Age piano compositions since 1996. He has long felt that the greatest factor in the influence of a piece of music is the intent of its author. He has also written numerous LDS Hymn arrangements, many of which are available in sheet music, including the favorite hymns, If You Could Hie to Kolob and Come Thou Fount.

So far, Chas has 4 albums out:

Tune My Heart, Released 2012
Anthem of Hope, 2010
The Ancestor, 2009
Dayspring, 2007

While music and writing are his most time-consuming work, he also enjoys gardening, inventing games, and most of all, spending time with his beautiful wife and adorable little kids.