Wow. November was a crazy month. A lot of things made it busy, but for anyone who has been following my posts or facebook status updates, NaNoWriMo sent it into overdrive. (Ede has a great post on his experience as well.)
First off, once again, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a non-profit group which has the primary goal of inspiring people to actually write. Apparently 90% of people who ever set out to write their own novel never even finish. Enter NaNoWriMo. See: “What is NaNoWriMo?” and “How it Works”
30 days – 50,000 words. That simple.
Ok, so its not *thaaaat* simple. The concept being it is a lot easier to finish a book if you have a body of work to edit. Hard to edit a blank page. Sounds easy right?
Not really. I tried nano in 2008, got behind and discouraged right away, busy, and dropped out. Tried to pick it up again a couple of months later, but never got far. I just kept rewriting the first chapter or so. That is where commitment comes in. NaNoWriMo *is* a commitment. Yet, the commitment is to yourself. By committing to reaching 50,000 words, I was able to force myself past the spots I would normally start fixing, and just keep going. I actually ended up slightly ahead and finishing 3 days early.
I liked Ede’s “what I learned list,” for November, so I have put together my own:
1) Your story and characters will surprise you
2) A lot of crap gets written, but polishing is for later
3) Having a job, wife, etc AND trying to write a novel in a month is insane, but fun
4) I never knew it was possible for me to write almost 6000 words in a single day.
5) I hit the end of my outline and wasn’t finished with the story. The last 3rd of the book was the most fun to write when I had no idea where scenes or dialog were going to take me.
Three questions I have heard during the month (besides “What is NaNoWriMo):
1) Why are you writing a novel?
This is the easiest one to answer – because I have a story to tell and I love to write.
2) What are you going to do with it once you are done?
A few things really. First, revise, edit, and loop through that a few more times. Revisions and whatnot should get it somewhere in the 80,000 word range. Which also seems more in line with what publishers like to see. Then start looking for an agent and go through the process of Query Letters, Manuscripts, etc. Second, start another novel. There are plenty of more stories in the word I envisioned, or perhaps something totally different.
3) What is your novel about?
Haven’t gotten too much into the specifics. It is called “The Kingdom of Dragmar,” and is a fantasy/adventure novel. I wrote in my favorite genre to read about. I do have a synopsis and a brief (from a draft) excerpt on my NaNoWriMo profile page.
So if any agents or publishers happen to come across this post, (or friends reading said post know agents or folks in publishing) and are looking for a fantasy novel or two, I happen to know of a couple in the process of being polished up! ☺
So I won. Finished NaNoWriMo. What did I win? A little certificate that I can print out, a website graphic, and the knowledge that I can really write something novel length. The last one being the real victory for me. All in all – an awesome experience and look forward to it again next year.
Now to invest in paper and red pens. (ie – time to start editing!)
Anyone else interested in writing your own novel, I recommend checking out yWriter. Free software that really helped me organize my stuff. Any questions, please feel free to use the Contact Form on OlorinPC.com