Monday, December 3, 2012

My First NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo? Sounds decadent doesn't it? Well, it is in some ways. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the November just past was what NaNoWriMo is all about. It gives budding authors the chance to write 50,000 words in 30 days, hopefully culminating in a completed novel. The decadence about it? It gives you permission to spend time with your imagination, creating a story. It gives you the opportunity to say, "Sorry, you'll have to make your own dinner, I'm busy writing my novel." It lets you pursue that novel writing fantasy you've had for years.

Now, I actually am a published author, and received the People's Choice Award for Non-Fiction from the Library of Virginia this year, but I've only written non-fiction. And frankly, writing things that require all that research are a bit torturous for me. You have to be careful to not mislead people. Words have to be carefully chosen. It's a slow process and, for me, there wasn't a lot of imagination involved.

While we were at the awards ceremony in October, I turned to my husband and said, "I want to come back here one day, but as a finalist in the fiction category." I took a novel writing class at the local YMCA several years ago and enjoyed learning more about the process. I hadn't gotten far with the novel, but I did have an idea, a partial plot, and characters. Though I hadn't worked on it since the class, in the back of my mind, I thought I'd pull it together one day.

Somewhere around October 29th, award ceremony fresh in my mind, my friend Sarah Beth Jones at Nary Ordinary posted about NaNoWriMo. We had talked about this event in the class I took, but it just seemed like a crazy idea then. Crazy or not, I headed over to the NaNoWriMo website and signed up. Just like that. And then furiously went looking for my notes from that novel writing class.

I'll say right now, I didn't finish the 50,000 words. I didn't really expect to, though I actually thought about trying to write 10,000 words a day that last week so I could say I finished. What I did do was write 12,047 words. I got to know my character better. I wrote without an outline, so even I don't know what's going to happen next, but I've gotten to a critical point. It's not an impasse; I found that I didn't have any difficulty writing when I sat down to do it. I enjoyed spending time with my imagination. I had fun. And now that I've started, I plan to continue writing and finish this novel. In fact, I'm going to use Sara Beth's FloCoIMo as motivation come January 1st.

Did any of you participate in NaNoWriMo? If so, how did it go?

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