How I split my NaNoWriMo novel into two planned fantasy series

So two years ago I did the National Novel Writing Month for the second time. (I didn’t do it last year, because I was already partway through writing a novel, and was writing more than 50k in a month.)

The first novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo was a charming fairy tale/soup kitchen crossover, which I am currently editing into a complete novel.

The second year, I wrote a 50k word saga about a woman who transformed into a dragon.

I really liked this dragon book, but it had a sort of hitch–the first half of the book had no magic, and the second half was all magic. I thought it was rough.

I shared the book with a friend, and he thought the world was amazing. He wanted to make a series out of the book.

After several long talks, and some frustration, I was able to tease out that the plot was a mixture of three stories; one was a fantasy series I’d been planning since I was a child, one was the actual dragon story I had written down, and the last was another idea that I’d started working on three years ago.

Somehow, during the heat and motion of NaNoWriMo, these three projects had melted together in my story.

It took some time, but I sorted out the different elements from each of the three worlds, and got them fixed down where they belonged. Now I have the original fantasy series well underway, and the three-year-old idea has been put into a series-long outline. I’m still planning out seven of the individual books, but I have the titles, and the basic shape of the overall plot.

That leaves me with the manuscript I wrote for NaNoWriMo, which I am saving for a rainy day. I think the dragon-woman story is great, but it needs some outlining, and I want to finish the first two series before I touch it; I feel as though, if I were to work on the dragon-woman series now, I would end up writing in many of the other fantasy elements again. Better to get them all nailed down in their own books, so they can’t go wandering around by themselves again.

I doubt I’ll use NaNoWriMo this year, because I’m on a much more rigorous schedule now, and I’ve got my books planned out for some time, but it was an amazing way to get started on writing, and I loved how my books twisted and turned throughout the month.

Here’s to your writing; may your plotting be clear and your typing (or handwriting) enjoyable!

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