Yup, I sure did.
And now I'm terrified. Most of that fear stems from not knowing what my life is going to be like once fall classes resume. And part of it, ladies and gents, is the sheer fact that 50,000 in 30 days is a whole lot of time and sweat and exhaustion waiting to happen.
I'm also pretty stoked.
I bring this up because a) see above paragraph, and b) I've seen a number of posts in the past 24 hours discussing pantsing v. plotting (see Jessica's and Summer's posts, and, tangentially, iggi and gabi's). They've made me consider NaNoWriMo, how it works, and who might be more successful—the pantser or the plotter.
Pros for the PlotterThese seem pretty obvious to me. The outline is waiting for you on top of your keyboard on that fateful November morning when the race begins. The story has been developing in your mind for some time. Scenes already exist, though they are yet unwritten. All you need is some time and some quiet.
Cons for the PlotterWhile the outline is immaculate, you haven't plotted the exact path from point A to point B. You get stuck. When you resume, your story takes an unexpected turn...
Actually, wait. Can this happen to a plotter? Or is each scene thoroughly outlined so no unknown plot twists can infiltrate the WiP?
Hmm... maybe it's better not to talk about the plotter, seeing as I don't conform to this category.
Pros for the PantserThe whimsy and excitement of discovering your story drives you to go days without sleep.
Cons for the PantserOh, shoot. Wait. What just happened? How did the story get here? No, no, no, this doesn't work. It's headed for a dead end. Go back, delete 20,000 words and start over.
I've oversimplified the categories, no doubt about it. And such categories are never so well defined, anyway. The continuum is vast, and most of us will fall somewhere in the middle. I tend to lean toward the pantser side (and have found myself getting very little sleep when a story won't stop in my head), but I never start writing before my story has a solid beginning, a few key mid-way points, and a solid ending. All of these are subject to change, of course, but a barebones outline is necessary for me to feel comfortable with the process.
I've had a story idea bouncing around in my head for close to six months now, and I've decided to hold onto it until November 1st. I'll spend some time in the next couple of months writing a preliminary summary for it. Before I discovered NaNoWriMo (or, I should admit, before I went to Google to figure out what all this nonsensical acronym means :) I had already written a couple of pages. I know we're not supposed to start NaNoWriMo with anything but outlines, but I promise what I've got is nothing of consequence. If you're interested, you can see the first 250 words here. I wrote them because I wanted to toss them into the pool for Nathan Bransford's Monday Page Critique. I'm still waiting, and may wait for another 279 weeks while he goes through everyone else's :)
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between? Which are you more like? Which do you think would be better for an intensive writing competition like NaNoWriMo? Why?