NaNoWriMo – The Postmordem

What does it look like to be crushed by an idea you embraced with such excitement and enthusiasm in its buildup? I think the picture that follows can sum up my response.plane

What I envisioned as a 747 arcing across the sky over the month of November headed for at least a 50,000 word beginning of my first published novel instead is holding its place as a 29,039 word beginning. Rest assured I have not thrown in the towel or the landing gear on this quest. But I do know this, 50,000 words in 30 days is a monumental task, one I had known in the preceding years and avoided at all costs. But in 2015 I thought it would be worth the effort. I can say it was not.

I got tied in with NaNoWriMo.org (for free or I would not have done it) and they go to great lengths to try to encourage you and get you involved with other writers. This is all fine and well if you have scads of time to devote to such. But if you intend to tap out the average of 1,667 words per day to stay on pace it leaves little time for anything else. NaNo

I did attend one write in, which is a physical gathering of those taking part in the month long exercise at a local site. With the exception of the two liaisons from the event there was one other writer and myself, so not much opportunity to feel a part of a community. It is true that writing is a solitary adventure and most of your motivation has to come form within, but you would think  writers would jump at the chance to share a brief time with others.

The novel I am in the midst of writing was not the problem, that story is in my head, begging to be transferred to the computer. The issue is the demands of writing it within such a short and yet hectic time period. Consider the holiday that falls within the 30 day period. Then I can add in the fact that I left the country for a week long mission trip. Of course I knew that going in, but in the early days when the enthusiasm was tied to adrenaline I was able to get ahead of the pace and felt I could easily reach the goal.

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So in summary I guess I would say this experience confirmed what I already believed, that NaNoWriMo is not for me. I will finish this novel and get it ready to be published either with a traditional publisher or by publishing it myself through Amazon or another means. It is my greatest desire at his moment after the things that are always bigger priorities (spouse, children, job, etc.). I suppose I will have to try to find another avenue to develop a writer network of friends.

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Why Do It?

I agree I might be on the edge of doing something totally insane. Okay, maybe not insane, but some kind of crazy. What is it? I am going to commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month’s time.

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National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo as you will se it on all the cool kid’s sites like Twitter Facebook, Instagram et all, is a concentrated effort to get some new book material out of writer’s heads and onto paper, in word processors or wherever people choose to write these days. Amazon, Good Reads and every other online site with any connection to books has to like the concept. I mean, what good is a storefront with nothing to sell?

WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?

I am doing it because over the years I have been writing novel length works I have never been published. Stay with me here, I am going to answer this question, it is just a long answer. There are many phases to writing a book. The preplanning is one, the writing a whole BIG other and then publishing perhaps the biggest of all. So really I am doing it first in hopes that this novel will be the one to kick in the door and get a publisher interested in what I write.

Secondly, again going back to the years I have been writing, I have learned to mentally develop a plot to see if it has the legs to be a full blown story. Sometimes you can have a really good story and well developed plot, but a good sized short story is all you can wring out of it. Have no illusion, writing a 75,000 word novel is no walk in the park. The #NaNoWriMo only asks 50,000, which will be tough enough in thirty days.

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The plot I chose to develop has been rolling around in my head for nearly three years. Usually within that amount of time if the plot does not continue to develop you know it has to be trashed. This one has only continued to grow and become more interesting. I feel like I would be passing up on the best choice of my working ideas if I let it go.

WILL YOU HAVE THE TIME?

Whoo! That is a good question. November is a busy month for everyone. I mean it is basically the start of the holiday season. Once you get to the last week, with Thanksgiving, you get into the Christmas slide and time seems to enter an accelerator of some type. AS a matter of fact, I will be departing the U.S.A. for an international mission trip on the 27thof November and with Thanksgiving the day before I am mentally giving myself 25 days to pull this off. I may have some time while away to finish things, but I want to plan as if I don’t.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN THIS YEAR?

I need a jump start in my writing and there is nothing like a new project to do that. The excitement of building out characters, setting, Plot and basically the whole ball of wax is invigorating. Pair that with a partner (my wife) that is willing to read and critique and you have a pretty good incentive.

I am also excited about the promised partnering of the folks at the #NaNoWriMo web site. They have developed there involvement so much that they have different regions of the country and groups for each along with coaches and liaisons to assist if you need. I would love to meet other writers/authors, especially those from my local area.

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WILL YOU KEEP YOUR READERS UPDATED ON YOUR PROGRESS?

Well, there will be a couple fo ways to do this actually. NaNoWriMo.org has several links that will report your progress back to your website or blog. I have inserted these in the right margin of two of my blogs: (1) In the flagship blog, Joe’s Musings. (2) I included it on the Fiction Playground blog. This is where the majority of my blog traffic comes in. I have other blogs, but they just do not get the same amount of attention from me or visitors.

So, taking the time to make this little post has equaled around 750 words or 38% of what I will have to create each day to make the 50,000 word goal. I hope you will cheer me on, encourage and wait breathlessly (while breathing of course) to see if I can cross the line with the thousands of others taking this challenge.

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National Novel Writing Month is coming in nine days. So what, you say? Why should I care? Well it is highly possible some novel you read in the next six to eighteen months could see its beginning in the thirty day festival of novel writing that is #NaNoWriMo. Basically, for anyone still in the dark, novel writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. While 50,000 words might seem short for a novel, on average there are 250-300 words per page. using this estimate a 50K word novel would constitute around 200 pages.

I can count five manuscripts in my inventory of unpublished works. I will confess I have never tried to do the #NaNoWriMo because the concept is more than intimidating. You will write 1,667 words on average each day to total 50K in thirty calendar days. Keep in mind there is a holiday on November 26th and you eschew that 24 hour period. This year I also will surrender four days of my writing schedule to an international mission trip. While I could still find the time, who knows if I will want to try?

So there are innumerable reasons to shake my head and retreat from this challenge once more, but there is another compelling reason not to: A story dying to be written. It is a concept I have been mentally building out over a few months. But now it is getting ready to hit the fast track and get a full court press to 50K words.

So, what can I do to facilitate this? Well, for the first time in my novel writing adventures I plan to do a flow chart. No, I am not a flow chart expert and it will not be pretty, but I feel like I need to chart out the action and story line so i can write more effectively. I have decided to use the tact of writing individual chapters that focus on one of the characters, and believe I can chart accordingly.

Three Christmases past my wife invested in the Dragon voice dictation program. It is great as far as making the entry a lot faster, once it learns your speech eccentricities. It is not 100% flawless, but it helps quite a bit. What I am hoping for is to connect with other #NaNoWriMo authors to build some community so we can cheer each other on. I would also like to get some others who will gently inquire as to my progress and keep me focused on the goal. Who knows, I might be able to get this thing ready for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award that is coming in Jan-Feb time frame.

Okay, here is the part where I find out how many people who click on my posts read to the end. You are probably asking what will be the subject of this novel. It will be a suspense thriller with an FBI agent chasing a serial killer on the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina and Virginia.