Well, the first day of NaNoWriMo ended much differently than I thought it would.

For the past few weeks I was mulling around one idea in my head, thinking over how I would structure the story and how to introduce the main character and her circumstances. However, the story I was planning was just a bit too autobiographical to be interesting, and the main character was just going to be a thinly-disguised version of myself.

I sat for a good 10 minutes or so, trying to think of how to write about myself in a fictional manner without turning myself into a Mary Sue character. It didn’t work.

So I went back to the drawing board and thought about a story idea I’d had, but abandoned about a year and a half ago. And then all of a sudden, words came out. To be precise, 1644 words came out – very close to the average number of words you should be putting out each day to meet the 50k mark by the end of the month, and more than the goal of 1500 words that I had set for myself today. My plan over the month is to write 1500 words per day on the weekdays and 2000/day on the weekends, with an extra final push at the end of the month.

There were place names. There were multiple characters. There was a semi-dystopian military setting. I began to conceive of a backstory involving power struggles and wars and secret government experiments.

In short, right now it sounds like the most hackneyed thing alive, as God knows there’s enough dystopian fiction out there. But it was fun! Thinking of names for my characters was a good mental exercise. Most importantly, it got the words going, which is the big goal of NaNoWriMo.

So, I’ll consider this an important lesson I’ve learned: an unplanned but exciting story concept is better than a planned-out, boring, vaguely autobiographical one.