Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy National Write a Novel Month

Today marks the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I'm excited to have the kick-in-the-pants that I need to get started writing a novel again. Every year for the last two, I've finished a novel by the end of the year. This year, I stalled on Book #3. I got stuck (which happens sometimes), put it away, and then when I returned to it, I found I'd lost the characters.

I've talked before, a little bit, about the voices in my head. It sounds a bit mad, but it's not like they tell me to do things. They're not those kinds of voices. They're just characters that my imagination makes up and, when I'm lucky, they tell me their stories. I rarely know a character's whole story when I sit down to write – that all comes out in the writing.

I'm not surprised that my characters from Book #3 abandoned me. I'd gotten lazy about my personal writing. It's easy to get bogged down in work, especially when you write dry, technical documents for a living. The last thing I'd want to do when I came home was look at a computer screen. But really, I'm only hurting myself because, when I devote even a sliver of attention to my writing, I have great fun.

NaNoWriMo is a fantastic idea – give yourself a time-limited goal for something you want to accomplish and then just do the damn thing. The rules are simple – in one month, write 50,000 words of a new novel. In actual fact, the novel itself probably won't be done in 50,000 words, unless you're writing a Young Adult novel. The genre I'm going for usually has 80,000 to 100,000. I'd love to have the thing actually done by the end of November, but we'll see.

So, what is my big story? Well, I'm going to be a little cagey on that because I fear that what happened with Book #3 was that I talked it out rather than writing it out. I'll tell you what I can about it now. The genre is Chick Lit and I got the idea from a story in Pick Me Up, which is a trashy magazine that is absolutely one of my secret guilty pleasures. Yeah, that's really all I can say about it directly.

You can track my progress (and keep me honest) here:

Time to get writing!


At 1 November 2006 at 09:48, Anonymous Jannie Funster said...

Good luck on your goal. How much time a day can you realistically devote to the novel? Maybe set the timer the first few times to get you started, then you'll be off and running and creating something great in no time. (When I was balking at learning guitar I'd set that timer and force myself to practice. Then, lo and behold - I eventually learned how to play guitar!)

At 1 November 2006 at 15:30, Anonymous Claire said...

Hey Ann, I'm doing NaNo too. First time for me so kind of scary to even admit to it in case I fail miserably.

I've added you as a writing buddy...hope you don't mind :)

At 1 November 2006 at 19:45, Blogger -Ann said...

Jannie - How much time I have depends on how good I am about getting up in the morning. Today I was great, bounding out of bed at 4 am to put in 2 hours before it was time to get ready for work. Let's see how long I can maintain that pace. :) The timer is a good idea though, for the days when it's rough.

Claire - Thank you! I am thrilled to have a writing buddy and am happy to provide whatever sort of encouragement/support you might need. Having written a couple of books is probably giving me a false sense of security - I've never given myself such an aggressive time goal before. Best of luck!

At 6 November 2006 at 10:03, Anonymous Sinéad said...

I wish I'd signed up for this, I feel bad that I didn't. Is it too late, if I pull a few allnighters?!

At 6 November 2006 at 13:07, Anonymous ainelivia said...

Checked out the link Ann, that's a grand amount of words to have clocked up just a week into nanowrimo.

well done and rooting for you

PS my word verification here is hpyyit. Sounds like something from Lord of the Rings, and migh be of interest to writers looking for unusual words.

At 6 November 2006 at 21:15, Blogger -Ann said...

Sinead - They will actually let you sign up all the way up until the 30th! Your daily word rate, if you started today, would be about 2100, which can be doable. You have an idea gnawing away in your head?

Annalivia - Cheers. I'm a bit of an obsessive. So much better to channel that into writing than into worrying. :)

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