But for tens of thousands of writers around the world, it is National Novel Writing Month Eve. For weeks, our fingers have been itching to start our latest (or first) novel. The National Novel Writing Month challenge is something we look forward to beginning on December 1st every year. We have to wait eleven long months until we can take the challenge again.
And November 1st is just hours away. HOURS. In fact, as you’re reading this, there are places in the world where it is already November 1st, and the novelists have begun.
I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for twelve years. This is my thirteenth attempt. Out of the previous twelve, I “won” every year. I will win this year, too, because that’s how I roll. Me? I have confidence! I always have confidence!
Two of m NaNoWriMo novels have been published. Second Chances was self-published through Lulu.com, and Fairest of the Faire was published by The Wild Rose Press. Both books took several years from writing to publication. That’s because editing is hard, and because I have a day job, a husband, and kids. I have to fit in the writing when I can, between the more mundane parts of my life. But mostly, because editing is hard.
Which might make you wonder why I’d take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, when the ultimate goal is word count (50,000 words in 30 days), rather than quality. But the fact is, until I did NaNoWriMo that first year, I didn’t know I had a whole book in me. I had written for years, but never finished anything. I would start out with bang, but then whimper away at about 12,000 words. A decently-sized romance novel needs to be about 72,000 pages at the very least, and closer to 100,000 if you want a good seller. That first year, I wrote 96,000 words in less than 30 days. And I wrote a story that had a beginning, a middle, AND an end. It was a complete story. I had never in my life done that before. I was shocked at myself, and amazed that I had that in me.
And there really is no turning back. Not every year produces a great read. Some years, I barely make 50K and it’s not even a single story, it’s several small ones that aren’t any good. My last successful year was 2009, when I finished the first draft of Fairest of the Faire. I’m hoping this year will be successful in getting my next novel written. I had thought after I published Fairest that I would be able to produce a book a year. Apparently, I can’t. So maybe a book every other year, then.
For the last two months I’ve been working on polishing up my plotting skills. What always fails for me are the sagging middles of my stories. I’ve tried some basic outlining, and using Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat-style beat sheet work. I’m hoping that has helped, although until I start writing, I won’t know.
So for how, I wait. I will go to my town’s Halloween Parade this morning, so I can see my daughter in her bear costume walking with all the other kids. I am signing books at one of my local bookstores at noon. Then there are pumpkins to carve, bags of candy to be opened, a fire pit to set up in the driveway, candles and lights to be lit, for the trick-or-treaters. And all the while, my back burner will be going strong, working on my story.
So, Happy NaNoWriMo Eve to you! Will you be participating this year? Have you participated in the past? Tell me in the comments!
Fairest of the Faire – available now!
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
Buy at Wild Rose Press: (eBook and paperback)
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