Less than two weeks to go before NaNoWriNo (or National Novel Writing Month for those who don’t speak writer). That means that all across the world throughout the month of November, thousands of writers will be attempting to write 50,000 words in a month. Insane, you say? Yes. But it is possible. I speak from experience.
Last year was my first NaNoWriMo and I won (meaning, I wrote 50,000+ words in November). It was a crazy, sometimes stressful experience, but one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It got me into the habit of writing nearly every day, which I didn’t think I could do before that. I also met so many wonderful people, both in person locally and online, many of whom I’ve kept in contact with online.
Out of all of Camelot’s Queen (also known as book 2), the part I wrote during NaNo is the part I ended up changing the least. Maybe I was just lucky that I had a really good idea of what was going to happen in that section, but I think a lot of the quality was due to the need to get out of my own way and just write. During NaNo, there isn’t time for a lot of second guessing. And most of the time, your first instinct is right. But I also had the advantage of having a chunk of the book already written (that didn’t count toward the 50,000 words), so I wasn’t starting from scratch.
This Year’s Book
This year is a whole different story (literally). I’ll be writing a Tudor-era historical fiction (code name: Glastonbury – it doesn’t have a real title yet) that came to me in June while I was in England researching book 3 of the Guinevere trilogy. It’s the story of two people, Isabella and Stephen, whose lives are intertwined with one another and the dissolution of Glastonbury Abbey. It’s part local legend (I don’t want to give that part away yet..let’s just say it has to do with the George and Pilgrim Inn), part love story, part recounting of the Abbey’s final months. I have always been fascinated with the dissolution of the monasteries (even before Nancy Bilyeau’s books) and when I stood in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey, I knew I wanted to try to imagine what it would have been like in its heyday and what brought about its tragic end. The fact that local legend ties in with a bit of romance just sweetens the plot.
If you want to get an idea of what’s going on in my head and what I’ll be writing about for the next two months (hoping to have a draft done by year-end), take a look at the book’s Pinterest board. If music is more your thing, here’s the beginning of the playlist:
- Lana Del Ray, “Born to Die” (Isabella and Stephen’s theme)
- Lana Del Ray, “Off to the Races”
- Brunuhville, The Eternal Forest (I’ll be using this whole album and all of his music as my main writing music.)
Want to keep score at home? There’s a handy little word count tracker in the menu at the right that will update automatically as I log my words. And if you’re following my ROW80 posts on Wednesdays and Sundays, you’ll find out more there.
(And don’t worry about Guinevere. I’ll be getting back to book 3 as soon as I can. She and I just need a little distance. 14 years is a long time to put up with someone and that’s how long she and I have been telling her story.)
In case you want to join in on the insanity, here are some resources that helped me in planning my book. (And no, it’s not to late to join. I know people who have started in mid-November and still managed to win.)
- Roz Morris on developing your characters: http://www.multi-story.co.uk/guestspot.html#Generate%20your%20NaNoWriMo%20novel
- Six Secrets of Writing a Novel Without an Outline: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/6-secrets-of-writing-a-novel-without-an-outline
- NaNoPrep: Creating Internal and External Conflict: http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/61764290942/nano-prep-creating-external-and-internal-conflict
Good luck to all my fellow NaNo-ers out there! Come find me on the NaNo site and mark me as your writing buddy.
Do you have questions about NaNo? Are you participating? Let me know your user name and I’ll add you as a writing buddy. What do you think about NaNo? I was a huge skeptic before I did it.