Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gearing up for NANOWRIMO

After a year's hiatus, I'm returning this November for my 3rd NANOWRIMO (or National Novel Writing Month).  If you've never heard of this, check out their website.  This is one of the most challenging writing challenges I've ever taken on and somehow, despite the stress, I have a blast with it.  It's very motivating to be sweating out word count deadlines with hundreds of thousands of others and very freeing to completely abandon my inner editor and just write at a breakneck speed.  The outcome isn't always spectacular, but having done it twice -- I have one novel I really like (and my daughters love) and a second that's pretty cruddy, but taught me a lot.  Not bad.  There are a number of novelists who wrote their books during NANOWRIMO, including Sara Gruen who wrote Water for Elephants one dark November.

Now, it's true -- only a man with absolutely no responsibilities for Thanksgiving meals would schedule such a thing in November.  Apparently, Chris Baty chose November because he thought it was a dull month with nothing much happening.  Hah!  Clearly, he doesn't have 40 or so of his nearest and dearest over for turkey and trimmings or if he does, he's not the one doing the cooking and cleaning.  Our idyllic mountain location makes us the family destination for a huge Thanksgiving Turkey bash, which includes my sis and her family staying for 5-6 days that week too.  It's an event we look forward to all year, making November just about the toughest month possible for me -- but heck, just heap that onto the challenge :)

This year I'm extra geared up because I'm teaching a Creative Writing class that has already begun a 10-week version of Nano with a goal of 15,000 words.  They're waiting for me to put my money where my mouth is and get started too.  So, now all I need is a plot.... any ideas?


  1. Found you via a comment on the Yarn Harlot's site...

    And, I have to agree with you about the choosing of the month of November for NaNoWriMo...though in Canada, our Thanksgiving is now done, November is spent gearing up for Christmas...why not January or February, for that matter?...we're all spent out from the holidays, it's cold and there's little incentive to venture outdoors...why not hole up and write a book in 30 days?

    Anyway, just thought I'd drop a note...love your blog, and good luck with the book!...as for plot, why not something along the lines of the minutiae of the everyday that continues to happen when a write tries to start and finish a book in a month? Just a thought...


  2. Tamara -- Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog. I hope you'll check back from time to time here, as I'm guessing some of that "minutiae" you mention will find it's way here :)

    ...and you're spot on about January/February as MUCH better months for NANO! Where I live there's almost never snow in Nov. In Jan/Feb there's always the delightful possibility of being snowed in! Just thinking about that makes my fingers itch to get writing (well, and knitting -- but, I'll try to prioritize).

  3. Good luck with Nano etc.! It's like running the marathon, for a whole month.


  4. Thank you Kay! Are you by any chance Kay G. of M/D fame? I left a comment on that blog yesterday, so was thinking maybe?? If so, my daughters and I adore your books!! If not, you probably think I'm crazy right now :) I definitely appreciate your words of wisdom either way -- you're reminding me that training season for Nano is NOW! I should probably be stretching :)

  5. Evil young princes trying to do away with a 101 year old tradition which is defended by a wise woman in a duel with the bilious and vindictive ruler?

  6. How about the tale of 33 miners who get trapped underground for a couple months :) Only, they are all women... trying to write novels!

  7. Um... Stephanie... that could get ugly :)

  8. Teri -- Pretty sure it's been done -- somehow I have unpleasant memories of that very plot recently reenacted. I believe the setting was a somewhat longish beach somewhere in your vicinity and man that ruler was seriously bilious!