I am not much of an explorer when someone says to me
"Hey, you should try NaNoWriMo."
Images of strange exotic dishes or painful contortions of my body leap to mind. That is quickly followed by ideas about the latest get rich quick scheme, healing potion,or miracle cure for death. I'm curious, but wary.
When my friend approached me with the challenge of trying NaNoWriMo the first time I neither understood it, nor could pronounce it. This year though I'm trying NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo stands for: National Novel Writing Month.
November is set aside every year for professional as well as ammeter writers to take on a challenge.
Write 50,000 words of a rough draft from your new novel.
Not one you've started a dozen times and couldn't handle, or a collection of stories you think you can mash together into a novel. A brand new, unstarted novel.
At first the idea overwhelmed me a bit. My premiere novel "Killing Cassanova" was 50618 words when my publisher purchased it. It took me nine months to write that book. Not to mention, my anniversary is in November, Thanksgiving, a Holiday party my husban's family has instead of Thanksgiving, and my nephew is getting married next week end. Between all that, my kids, my church, my family, and my life in general; How was I going to pull this off?
Well...It's only November 6, so I haven't yet, but here's what I've learned so far.
1. You never write a novel from a blank slate. During the month of October I researched the background, setting, hobbies, work, and lives of my characters. I interviewed them to get to know their motivations, and I plotted my book chapter by chapter, character by character, and scene by scene. Before I ever wrote a single word.Overkill, I know but it's my first time.
2. If you're going to challenge yourself, have a warden. Have at least one or more people you are accountable to. NaNoWriMo has a page where you sign up to do the challenge and you enter your word count to find out if you're on track or not. This is helpful if you keep up on the website. More valuable than that, though are my friends who are NaNoWriMo-ing themselves. We check in with each other, encourage each other, and inspire one another to keep going.
3. Just let go. Relax. This is a first draft. Nobody's going to read it. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't have to be pretty, It doesn't even have to make sense. Let your imagination go. Throw in aliens, monsters, car chases whatever. It's not your novel-Its your rough draft.
Once again, I'm only a week in and I may find out this method will mess up what could have been a really good book.
But, who cares? It develops the habit of writing every day, knowing your characters, and setting and achieving goals. What writer can go wrong with habits like those?
So...If you've never tried NaNoWriMo, go check out the website and see some of the projects going. You'll find me on there along with thousands of other writers who are learning to NaNoWriMo!