Throughout the month of October, I’ll be posting a few blogs about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is in November. As I had such a positive experience last year, I’ll be talking about why I recommend it and how to survive it. #WhyNaNo
Before I answer that, let’s take a moment to examine what’s led up to now in the past year.
One Year Ago: “I’m not cut out for fiction”
Just over a year ago, I was someone who thought about writing often, missed writing for fun, and lamented how little I wrote anymore. Someone who occasionally pulled up past writings and drafted ideas, and thought about how I should get back to writing again. And, most strangely to me now, I was someone who sincerely believed that I couldn’t write fiction, that I wasn’t “cut out for it.” Sure, I could write journalistic pieces, essays, blog posts, and really anything nonfiction, even some creative nonfiction, but fiction? No, I just read that.
But then, right around this time last year, I don’t know what hit me. I wish I could tell you what inside me decided to reverse my lack of confidence and motivation, and just said, “Hey, I should do NaNoWriMo!” Because I need that kind of sudden ambition in my life more often.
This Year: Starting Novel #3
But I digress. Here we are, one year later, and I am nearly ready to call the story I started last year a finished first draft that can move into the stages of revision. I’ve been meeting with a critique group for almost a year, working to refine that story. I also started another piece over the summer. And for NaNoWriMo 2014, starting this Saturday, I will begin a new story.
One of the main reasons I used to reject fiction-writing was my lack of ability to devise plots. Now, in just one year, I will have explored three plots! I’ve also jotted down ideas for several more stories, some of which might be novels and some of which might be short stories. And I’ve written more posts on this blog (14 just this year, including this one, and 5 last year, starting with NaNo) than ever before on any blog I’ve tried to keep up. Just one month of making a constant commitment to writing has launched the most prolific year of writing for me to date, and that includes my years in college as an English major! Knowing what NaNo did for me last year makes me downright giddy to do it again this year.
My NaNo 2014 Project
This year’s NaNoWriMo will be somewhat different for me. For one, I’m not going full “pantser” (NaNo shorthand for flying by the seat of your pants and letting the plot guide itself) like last year and I’m becoming a bit more of a planner. At least for now, I have a pretty defined ending and a basic outline, along with a main character who I’ve fleshed out with some traits and flaws and obstacles to overcome. I’m hoping that some sketching out now will make for actually hitting the 50,000 word count on November 30. I’m also taking my own advice in my “how to survive NaNo” post of writing as much as I can when I have time, and blocking out a time of day to write, probably early morning.
It’s not that I haven’t been excited about my other two stories of this year, but I must say that I’m very into this year’s storyline. I won’t get into too many details for a novel I haven’t yet written, but there will be trains (I love trains and my interst in them fueled the creation of this plot), a few magicians, some steampunk flair, and something of a magical, fanatical twist on the story of how the steam locomotive was first invented, and a new take on the bet that urban legend says went down to spur its creation. It’s a cross between fantasy and steampunk with some history and mystery thrown in. Oh yeah, and it’s called: Locus. For now, anyway.
Cheers to crazy late nights, thousands of words of writing a day, and a novel draft in 30 days!