Monthly Archives: October 2010

NaNoWriMo: Preparation

The first time I did NaNoWriMo, in 2008, I didn’t prepare.  I had no idea how one might prepare.  I had hardly written prose fiction in over two decades, but I had always wanted to write a novel.  My brother had just started running marathons and I was looking for something similarly impressive to prove to myself that I could accomplish a big project.  I stumbled on NaNoWriMo in mid-October through a now forgotten series of web searches.  I signed up and dove in.  On November 25th, I submitted my manuscript to verify my win and celebrated briefly before spending 9 months failing to  turn the mess I had written into a story worth sharing with anybody else.  There are some good nuggets in the mess, but the overall novel still needs a lot of work.

In September of the following year, I stopped writing and started reading about the craft of writing a novel.  I created a couple of characters and the beginning of a plot outline before November. Life was particularly hectic that November and eventually, I chose to work on a play that took away most of the time I had scheduled for writing.  Less than 10,000 words later, I abandoned that project.  But, I had learned some important things about planning a novel.

Committed to writing a complete first draft of a novel, with or without NaNoWriMo, I have spent the past year studying craft and writing short stories.  A few weeks ago, I started thinking seriously about NaNoWriMo.  This year, my goal is a complete first draft of a Middle Grade novel.  I tend to write my first drafts long, so meeting that goal will probably take me over 50,000 words.  But my focus is the novel, not the word count. I have a chapter outline, character sketches for the main characters.

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Why I Intend to Blog About NaNoWriMo

This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. If you are not familiar with NaNoWriMo, here is the quick summary.  To “win” NaNoWriMo, you must write at least 50,000 words of a new novel within the month of November.  Preparation is acceptable.  Starting to write the actual text is against the rules of the challenge.

I  won my first time out and failed dismally the second time.  This year, I am trying to get back on a winning streak.  Public accountability has halepd me in the past, so I am planning several things to keep my status public, including blogging on this site.  Hopefully, this will keep me motivated to push on.

My goal is not only to win, but also to complete a first draft.  My project is a middle grade novel, so 50,000 words is long.  However, I tend to overwrite.  Therefore, I figure that a 50,000 word first draft should give me a good place to edit down to a marketable length.

How are you going to keep yourself motivated to keep your fingers moving through NaNoWriMo this year?

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