Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's NaNoWriMo Time, Again!

"The world is a lot more fun when you approach it with an exuberant imperfection." - Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo

When I was the forward party in our move to Memphis in April I figured I'd get some writing done in my alone-time before the family got here; I was wrong.  I figured I'd get some writing done over the summer; I was wrong.  I figured by now I'd have several of my works in progress (WIPs) done; I was wrong.

What went wrong?  Life, to sum it all up.  I've posted before on how I learned to only keep one WIP open at a time--that lesson came after several weeks of extremely low production.  Plus this moving thing is, you know, stressful.

That said, I was ecstatic to claim to have finally finished Book 1 of Dragon Queen of Kiirajanna.  I'm querying agents sending out rejection invitations right now; hopefully it'll get out to the public sooner rather than later and the world will be treated to my story.  Yay!

So what's next?

Book Two, of course.

The timing is about as close to perfect as I could ask for in my imperfect world.  The Month With A Deadline (aka National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo) is at hand.  It's only a couple of weeks away, in fact.

There are two requirements to "winning" NaNoWriMo--not that you win anything physical other than a cool little graphic, mind you, but it's an esoteric feel-good kinda win.  The first is that you start with a blank page on November 1 and finish on or before November 30 with a complete story.  The second is that your story be "novel length," a fairly ambiguous measure that the folks at NaNo decided should mean 50,000 words.  There's nothing special about 50,000 words, nor is it really novel length in most genres, but it's a good minimum around which to build a deadline.

And, as I've seen, deadlines are what I need.

I've done NaNo twice so far.  The first time, in 2007, I didn't win; I started with a cool story concept that didn't have any ending I could see, and I got to about 27,000 words before I realized it was going nowhere.  I didn't have such good writing buddies back then, and so I didn't know any effective writing continuation techniques ("blow something up" being my current favorite).  So I quit. 

The next time, last year, I was determined to succeed.  I still entered the month, though, convinced that the seat of my pants (so to speak, of course) would propel me across the finish line.  It did, but only at the expense of writing a horrible, horrible story that shall never, ever see the light of day under its current structure.  Oh, I'll go back and fix it, the mess representing the next installation in Return of the Gods, but I decided then to do things very differently now.

And I am.  Doing things differently, that is.

Last weekend I sat and wrote a two-page synopsis for how I thought the story for my second book was going to go.  The good thing about that was the eye-opening effect of putting the bones of the story down on paper--I realized that it sucked.  When I'm writing a novel the long way I can always go back and fix the parts that suck, but when I'm trying to spin out an entire story in a month I don't have the luxury.

Thus it was that yesterday found me with the other parts of my creative team (my beloved Heide and Jessa) discussing the story over breakfast.  By the time we left I had a plot that didn't suck.  I wrote the synopsis today, all five pages.

I even named the bad guy.

I'm ready.

Bring it on, NaNoWriMo.


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