Several years ago I took a stab at this National Novel Writing Month thingy that everyone who’s anyone who’s a writer or who wants to be a writer may or may not be talking about.
The challenge, for those of you who are unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo (as it’s called), is to set all propriety and internal criticism aside and pour 50,000 words onto paper or into the word digesting device of your choice. Those words should be part of a novel, that you cannot start writing before midnight on Oct. 31st. You can do all the pre-planning you want.
Now, I’ve never been much of an outliner. I’ve been what is called a “pantser,” (writing by the seat of my pants, which gets me strange looks on the subway), but this year, I have 24-page outline for my new novel (see this blog entry) that contains an overview, characters, locations, a 3,000+ year timeline, and a scene-by-scene breakdown of the whole story. It’s a daring departure from “uh, I wonder what should happen next.”
I’d like to see how it affects my ability to crank out words on a daily basis. In 2009, when I last attempted this mad dash toward literary meltdown, I wrote the first 23,000 words of “Warden of Dragons,” the young adult book I finished writing a few months ago. It was worthwhile just to try, though I should have known it was foolish to try to write a novel AND prepare to perform in a holiday show with my singing group, Uptown Express.
This year, I have no such barrier. Though I am still reeling from the recent passing of my mother from an extended bout of first lung cancer, then brain cancer. The excitement that would normally come from starting a new project is muted as I process this new world in which I no longer have a mother. But the memories I have of her are good ones, and perhaps something of that will find its way into my new book.
I’ll try to post here, at least briefly, as I flounder my way through NaNoWriMo, so stay tuned. Any words of encouragement and support you have will be greatly appreciated!