Posts Tagged ‘NaNo’
In less than 24 hours, it’ll officially be Nov. 1 — and you know what that means: The kickoff of NaNoWriMo.
A frenzied month of writing. A full 50,000 words in 30 days.
Sounds daunting, right? Feeling a need for speed?
Hold on a minute. Put it into perspective: It’s just 1,667 words a day. When I think of it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad. 😉
I’m ready. I’ve been eager to start Kenny and Kristi’s story for weeks now. Finally, in less than 24 hours, I get to do it.
Bring on the coffee and sandwiches! And if anyone wants to send a Starbucks gift card my way, I wouldn’t complain …
NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and I’m all in.
In 2009, I participated for the first time. My goal was to finish a novel I’d already started, “Blind Date Bride.” I had about 40K to go. I only got 25K written during NaNo, but finished my first draft before Christmas.
This year, I’m going to go for the whole enchilada: A complete novel, from Word One.
That’s not to say I haven’t done a little prewriting. The idea is actually one I came up with while working on my first MS, Brad & Erin’s story. It’s the tale of Brad’s brother, Kenny. Because he lives in the same city as his mother, poor Kenny bears the brunt of his Ma’s matchmaking efforts … and it’s driving him crazy.
On the day Brad brings Erin home to meet his folks, Kenny also turns up with a woman he says is his fiancee … but she’s really just a friend Kenny has asked to pretend to be his fiancee to get his Ma off his back. But Kenny, always a practical joker, decides to take it to the next level — he has Kristi pretend to be a completely unsuitable fiancee, complete with clothes short and tight enough to give his dad apoplexy.
Of course, since I write romance, Kenny and Kristi have to fall for each other. But by the time they do, his Ma can’t stand the poor girl (who is really very sweet). Kenny, afraid to just come clean about the mother of all deceptions, convinces Kristi to undertake a “Pygmalion” type of transformation. (Hence the cheesy working title I put on my NaNo page, “My Fair Fiancee.”)
Don’t knock it. I told you I suck at titles! For me, they’re like the photo kickers I have to write for work. Once in a while I come up with one that’s a real gem: The picture of a deer in a field, looking straight at the camera comes to mind. I slugged it “You lookin’ at me?” But most of the time, they’re pretty lame. (Think “Fun with science” for Flagstaff’s recent science festival. Yeah. That‘ll bring home the prize for headline writing.) 😉
I did the pre-plotting work a while back, after one of our NARWA meetings went over the “Book in a Month” book. The goal was to do it in 60 days, before the next meeting. I got up to Day 4 or 5 (research) and petered out. Research isn’t my favorite thing, so I try to make my characters at least a little like me. I worked as a DJ for my college radio station (Kenny’s a DJ). But I still need to talk to someone, because I’m sure it’s different now that radio stations are all-digital. (Heck, most of our music was on CDs, but we still had to cue up vinyl from time to time … and that was way back in 1993!)
I’m also going to try to come up with character arcs for both Kenny & Kristi before Nov. 1. I see a cram session with Debra Dixon’s “GMC” in my future. Maybe if I focus on that before I even start, I won’t get the “your book doesn’t have enough conflict” criticism. (I seem to get that a lot … and as much as I wish I could, I can’t discount EVERYONE who’s told me that. I’m a Libra — Libras don’t like conflict … or so I’ve been told. I believe it, too. I’d rather attempt to swim across a flood-swollen Mississippi than have a fight with someone.)
Check out my NaNo page here. I put a few more details in my “novel info” page.
I recently discovered the blog of Nathan Bransford — Literary Agent. He’s both witty and wise … and rumor has it that he responds almost immediately to queries, whether he wants to see more or not. I’ve yet to test that myself because I haven’t quite perfected my query for “Blind Date Bride” and he doesn’t do category romance.
Anyway, after reading his latest entry, “The Greatest Strength of a Writer: Willpower,” I was inspired.
The last line, in particular, spoke to me:
If writing is always fun, you may be doing it wrong.
So simple, yet so true. For years, I’ve been one of those “I write when the muse inspires me” people. As a result, I haven’t gotten much done. Several partial MSs lurk in my computer files — all about half finished.
Now that I’ve committed to writing more regularly, first preparing my Golden Heart entry, then in the NaNoWrimo and now through our NARWA Word Count Club, I’m accomplishing a lot more.
- I entered a revised version of my very first MS (Operation Snag Mike Brad” in the Golden Heart, didn’t final and just found out my scores were solidly mediocre.
- I wrote about 25K of the 40K I wanted to get done during the NaNo, finishing the complete MS in early December. I’ve done some revisions and just shipped off the first 55 pages to the Orange Rose contest. (Blind Date Bride)
- I finished the first draft of another category-length MS. (Beauty and the Ballplayer)
- I’m almost done revising and expanding the second story in my “Women of Willow’s Grove” series. It was about 10K too short for category romance … now it’s just about right. (It’s tentatively titled “Daring to Love,” but I’m thinking it needs a new title.) Next up: fixing all the head-hopping in the third book in the series, “To Catch a Wife,” and expanding it. (It’s also about 10K too short for category.)
- I’ve started querying on my GH entry (receiving about 5 e-rejections in response to my e-queries). I also just finished a query and synopsis for “Blind Date Bride,” but haven’t started querying yet because I’m not sure it’s ready.
Whew! That’s a lot of work in the last seven or so months. And I owe it all to commitment. Sometimes I even sit down to write when I’d rather be doing something else.
OK, that’s rare. These days, I don’t want to do anything else. Our NARWA guest speaker back in January, Jennifer Ashley, lit a motivational fire under my behind when she said, “Treat writing like your day job and it will become your day job.” (You can read my post-meeting blog post here.)
Tomorrow is a day off from work. I’m planning to get in some more quality writing time … after I sneak in a workout. I’ve been neglecting my health/fitness goals lately and need to get back on track.
That whole “butt in chair” thing works in a healthy lifestyle, too — except it might better be phrased as “feet on pavement” or “butt in gym.” The point is, you have to do it regularly to get good results.
I have another confession to make: I have trouble with my follow-through.
This is true both in life (I think it’s why I can’t seem to reach my goal weight or balance my checkbook) and in my writing.
More than one mostly finished manuscript languishes in my collection. Two of them that I thought were done are still several thousand words short of even the shortest category-length novel. (Being some of the first things I wrote, they’re also full of head-hopping and other annoyances I’ll have to go back and fix if they’re ever to see an agent or publisher’s desk.)
The ones that trouble me more, however, are the half-finished ones. I start out writing and for a while it’s great. The words are flowing and I’m in love with the characters and situations.
But then, I always hit a wall. I stop writing … for days, weeks, even months at a time.
When I go back to read through what I’ve written, I find myself in love all over again. The great metaphors and interesting characters make me wonder why I ever stopped writing it.
I think it’s because I get to what the gals at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood call “the sagging middle.” When I can’t think of what should happen next, I abandon the story and start a new one. And the result is a bunch of really good starts.
Because half-finished novels do me no good, I need to figure out how to get around this problem. I don’t want to write at a frenetic pace for a few weeks and then hit a wall.
I suppose plotting beforehand would help. (I tend to be more of a pantster, making it up as I go along.)
Writing something every day also seems to be helping. (I did finish “Blind Date Bride” because I signed up for the NaNo and started writing much more regularly.)
Any other suggestions? I’ll try pretty much anything once. (I plan to do some pre-plotting on my 2010 NaNo story in October.)