It’s here. National Novel Writing Month and I’ve been saving writing this post until this morning so that I can, in fact, use these words toward my NaNo goal.
For those who don’t know, what IS NaNoWriMo? At its basic core, it’s a writing challenge – write 50k words during the month of November. Yes, Fifty Thousand words in 31 days, which averages out to 1,667 words per day. Last year, I started strong, got weak for about a week or so and with 10 days to go (or something like that), I still had 25,000 words to write. I essentially neglected my family over the next week and half to get ALL the words written.
This year, I want things to be different.
Now that it’s dark out longer, the kids are sleeping later, so I’ve started setting my alarm for 6:15 AM so I can write and be by myself for a few minutes (or 45 or more!) writing or doing a Bible study or what have you before I have to start momming for the day. I tried to do this months ago, but they started waking up with me, thus defeating the purpose of waking up early and I tossed in the towel and just waited for them to wake me up. Now that they consistently sleep until 7 or 7:30, I can get back to waking up early.
Anyway, I’ve been getting up early, but I haven’t been doing any writing. Why is that?
Because honestly, I wanted to wait for today. I wanted to stall any writing so that I could count it toward my NaNo total. For the month of November, these Wednesdays posts will be dedicated to my NaNo progress or other things related to NaNo, and happily, ALL of the words will count toward my word total. It’s about writing, not necessarily about dedicating to a single project, though that is what I did last year.
Last year was my first NaNo experience and I am so happy to share with you that, yes, I was a winner of NaNo (which just means that I wrote 50k words). I hope to start a streak this year by winning again, but we have the ENTIRE month ahead of us, so I won’t run too far ahead right now.
My inspiration for last year ended up being the expansion of a short story I’d written for submission to an anthology in a facebook group I was in. However, I was inexplicably kicked out of the group for violating some rule or something, I’m honestly not sure what I did wrong, and so I found myself with a short story and nothing really to do with it. Several people read it, gave me feedback, and the most common feedback was actually “you should turn this into a novel”, so I did. It was intended to be a standalone novel, but ended up becoming book 2 in my Tamerna fantasy series.
Did I mention that I hadn’t even finished book 1 yet?
That’s right. The first draft of the sequel was written with only about 20k words of book 1 completed.
Over the course of this past year, I’ve finally finished book 1 and just barely started editing. I’ve have a few pre-alphas read some or all of it and I have a pretty good idea of what I need to focus on with this editing, and that’s slowing down the pace A LOT, filling out the scenes I have, and so on. I expect that this novel will double in size by the time I’m done editing (which will tip it over the 100k mark).
The major thing I learned in NaNo last year was to JUST WRITE. Don’t worry about anything other than getting the first words onto the paper. In other words, don’t be afraid to write garbage. Garbage can be edited. A blank sheet can’t.
Thus, Tamerna book 1 draft 1 was birthed. It’s 50k words of an interesting idea, but is a hot mess of garbage. I’ve introduced my characters and I’ve nailed down a general plot line, so that’s good. That’s the current state of Tobias Snow (book 2) and now is where I really have my work cut out. This is the hard part. Fleshing out and then cutting down. Once I flesh this out and get a solid edit through it, then I’ll recruit a few alpha readers. While the alphas work, I suspect I’ll try to edit Tobias Snow. Then edit Tamerna while I get alphas for Tobias, then more and more editing. With any luck at all, this will take me to NaNo next year and by 2019, I should be ready to start looking at submitting these books to be published. I’m reluctant to set a timeline because I honestly don’t know how quickly or slowly these processes will be. It took 6 months to receive a small handful of my 11-week Bible study back and nearly that much time for 1 beta reader of another novel to finish. However, as they were the first beta projects I’d ever done, I certainly had a lot to learn and I will do things differently this time.
Anyway, back to NaNo 2017.
My plan for this year is to edit Tamerna, write on the beginning of Tobias Snow if I need to, in order to join it more smoothly, and then continue with these blog posts all in the hopes of averaging writing 1,667 words a day. That’s my unofficial plan.
I knew I couldn’t START yet ANOTHER book with these two hanging in such dire need in editing limbo and since both these books need to grow, I should be just fine in reaching my goal.
What you can expect, as my readers, is probably more rambly blog posts as I try to eke out as many words as I can to boost my word count as much as possible. I’m sorry and not sorry at the same time. I am looking forward to some more personal-ish posts throughout the month and updating you on this project and process.
Are you a writer? Are you doing NaNo? What are you going to work on? My handle is cjehlik. What’s yours?